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Keep Your Pants!

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My father in law has been in and out of the hospital many times in his 90+ years.  He has endured long stays and yet has sometimes been released on the same day.  His common joke during these times is to “never let them take your pants.”  He claims that once you have to give up your pants and don a hospital gown you are going to have to stay.  Now, after he has a trip to the ER, when we call to check in he will report, “Well, they took my pants” or “I didn’t let them get my pants” which lets us know if he will be staying or not.  Although I loved his clever way of reporting his health status, I never realized exactly what it meant until recently when I’ve been having some of my own health issues.

In May during some pre-surgery testing, I had an irregular EKG.  I had to have a follow up on that and the repeat EKG was deemed good enough for me to have the minor surgery, however, I now knew there was a blip on my EKG that would cause someone in the medical field to take a second look.  In August, I fell and broke my nose and bumped my head while on vacation in Nashville, TN.  When I got to the ER, they immediately requested all sorts of testing.  When I heard them mention an EKG, I politely refused the test.  I knew the “blip” would appear and I would find myself in a hospital in Tennessee while on vacation.

A few weeks ago, while traveling in Denver, CO, my heart started doing a flip-flop every now and then.  It has done this before and though not alarming, I have a family history of heart issues, so I became more aware of my heartbeat.  (Which is kind of like when someone tells you to be still after you’ve been still and you all of a sudden want to move.)  I became hyper-aware of my beating and every now and then pausing heart. This continued and I traveled to North Carolina where the flip-flops increased.  I toyed with the idea of going to the hospital, but I was out of state and didn’t want to change my plans.

I returned home and the irregularities seemed to increase and caused me to wonder. Should I go to the hospital? I didn’t want to go the day I got home, I didn’t want to miss K’s School walkathon, the weather was supposed to be nice on Saturday and I didn’t want to miss that, I knew I couldn’t go before I attended an event with my husband on Friday, and the excuses continued. I called doctors who all advised me to go to the ER if I was concerned until my upcoming scheduled cardiology appointment.  Still, I didn’t want to go.  I knew the monitor would show something and I had plans.  My plans did not include a trip to the hospital.

I finally entered the ER on Friday night AFTER attending the event and I sat in the parked car feeling my heart beating to see if I truly needed to go in.  With some encouragement from my husband (him refusing to back out of the parking spot and take me home), I went in.  I was told to put on a gown….but I could leave my pants on.  YAY!  The pants stay on, I may not need to stay.  The monitor was reporting the variations of my heart rhythm so I knew they could see what I was feeling. There was definitely something going on and it wasn’t all in my head. I was told it was PVCs, a very common affliction that many people have and most don’t even feel.  I. feel. each. one.  Regardless, I was treated with 3 baby aspirin and told to go home.  They never took my pants, I maintained my control.  However, does my need for control demonstrate my lack of faith?  I really don’t ever have control, do I?

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.

In the above scripture, the Roman officer who had control of his army and his decisions realized that he didn’t have control of healing his sick servant, but he knew who did. He knew Jesus was the one who could heal him.  Jesus was pleased with him when he said, “Truly, I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” I believe Jesus knows we want to control things, I mean, He made me, right? So he knows I want to control, but I also think he is pleased when I give up control and turn situations over to Him.

So, I have an appointment with a cardiologist in 5 days, I feel the flip-flopping heartbeat and second guess if I have any additional symptoms from time to time. The ER doctor said I am fine and I’m giving this anxious heart over to God.  He is in control.  I’m going to wear my pants physically, but I’m truly going to let God wear the pants in this relationship.

 

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Psalm 5 – Rad

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I’m sure you’ve heard of many Scripture versions, the KJV (King James Version), the NIV (New Internation Version), etc.  Though no one can say for sure, there are about 900 versions of God’s Word, but I bet you’ve never heard of this one:  The RADmom.  Yes, The Reactive Attachment Disorder mom’s version, but trust me, it is very real.  It is like no other.

This morning started with  my RAD son (I know, politically correct I should say, “My son, who happens to have RAD,” but not today.  No PC in me today.)  Anyhow, the morning started with him waking groggy after about 2 hours of sleep.  I don’t know why he is not sleeping, but it was a struggle for him to stay awake long enough to get dressed for school.  I sent an email to the teachers saying that we have a doctor’s appointment soon to see if there is a med error and he got on the bus.  I was looking forward to a day alone with nothing but my thoughts and hopefully some paper to write them down.  I decided to throw in a load of laundry and that’s when it happened.  That’s when the RAD in our home took over.  Even without him here, he leaves a big wake!

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My washing machine was full of one pair of pants (who does that? Washes one pair of pants?) about four packs of gum sans the wrappers which were already stuck to the side of the drum, a can of beef jerky & some other indescribable items. I attempted to scrape the gum off the sides with no luck, so I threw my hands up and had a good cry.  Well, a mini cry, I guess. I phoned my husband and started sending texts to his teachers (who have been teaching him to do laundry for a couple of years,) and I took my own advice that I mentioned before in a blog post and I called a friend who would make me laugh.  Well, actually, I texted her and her goofed-up voice texting back while driving made me laugh out loud.  I attempted to regroup and then was faced with another pesky annoyance.  Where would my help come from?! My help comes from the Lord as I am reminded in Psalm 54:4 (Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.)

So I turn on some random instrumental praise music and the first song is Hallelujah.  Not feeling that so I skip ahead to the next random song and a Piano plays a tune titled, “Psalm 5.”  I decided to turn to Psalm 5 in my Bible and I was blessed as I was able to hear from God.  I’ll share from Psalm 5 – RADmom.
5:1-5   Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing . (O Lord, what the heck?!) Listen to my cry for help, (What am I supposed to do? Help me out here!) my King and my God, for to you I pray. (Well, I’m not talking to myself!) In the morning I lay my requests before you (I need to get some laundry done) & wait in expectation. (Do you want me to get laundry done?) You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; (You didn’t want this gum stuck in my dryer) with you the wicked cannot dwell. (So if I want your help I better not start screaming and swearing!) The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; (Wow Lord, I’m humbled, I can’t even do my laundry without crying out to you.) you hate all who do wrong. (Keep me biting my tongue!)
5:7-8 But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; (I will open my Bible and visit you.) in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple. (My shaking head becomes a bowed head.) Lead me, O Lord, (What am I supposed to do next)in your righteousness (What’s the right thing to do?)because of my enemies–(That stinking sticky gum!)--make straight your way before me. (Don’t let me waste the entire day on this mess.)
5:11 But let all who take refuge in you (who sit at the kitchen table with an open Bible and open ears) be glad; let them ever sing for joy. (Lalalalalala) For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; (You will allow me to move on.) you surround them with your favor as with a shield. (You will make sure that someone checks their pockets next time.)

My hope is truly found in the Lord and the Lord alone.  Only he can understand my joys and my sorrows even if today it is only gum stuck in a washing machine. He will make my paths straight and today I think He knew my hope and joy would be found in spending a little more time with Him.  Now, unfortunately, I think he wants me to go back to the basement and try again.

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Book Review: Adventures of Jordan

IMG_2044Grab an afghan or a fleece blanket and have a child by your side as you read and enjoy Adventures of Jordan – A Children’s Bible Story from a Bird’s View by Linda Hemphill. This 77 page, 5 chapter book would make a great read aloud as you wind down at the end of the day. Children who are transitional readers will also enjoy reading this book by themselves as the safe, warm, characters will make reading alone less lonely. The large, easy to read font along with the occasional illustrations make this title reader friendly.

The story of Noah is brought to life by personable conversations between a curious, young bird, Jordan, who was injured and finds himself aboard an ark full of animals. These likable characters do an excellent job of sharing the word of God in a fun format that children will enjoy.

The author’s love of scripture becomes evident as she makes these characters shine the love of Christ and engage the reader.  Actual scripture passages are included in the Addendum for further exploration.

From the beginning when Jordan “opened his right wing and plucked a loose feather from underneath,” until later when Noah “stopped to gently stroke a horse’s neck, scratched a llama behind its ears, laughed at the antics of a pair of kangaroos, and smiled as a small monkey climbed up on his shoulder,” the author’s descriptive language makes you enjoy your time spent in the company of these characters who will feel like friends by the end of the book.

Pair this book with a book light and a cuddly stuffed animal and it will make a great Christmas gift for all of the children on your list.

book tree

Adventures of Jordan – A Children’s Bible Story from a Bird’s View – Noah

Written by Linda Hemphill              Illustrated by Richard Hemphill

HemphillBooks.com

2017

95 pages including NIrV Genesis 6-9

ISBN  978-0-9992378-0-9

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Waking Content

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This morning I woke with a thought running through my head, “Thank you Lord, for this feeling of contentment.”  I don’t know why, but I woke content.  Is it because my day’s schedule isn’t overbooked with undesirable tasks?  Is it because I had a good night’s sleep?  Is it because I woke without an alarm?  I don’t know what it was, but I felt content.

Yesterday was a good day.  I felt a longing to be in God’s presence.  I spent time in my Bible, I had some godly conversations with my husband, we discussed some scriptures, I talked about some church events. I was just more aware, more focused on what my priorities should be. I attended church & Sunday school on Sunday and then attended Bible Study on Tuesday and had this feeling that I couldn’t wait to attend again. (Let’s be honest, I don’t always feel this way.) I reminded my son this week that “if you lay with dogs you gonna get fleas,” but the group I’ve been hanging with lately don’t have fleas.  They enrich and empower me and build me up and encourage me.  Maybe that’s where the contentment came from.

Today I read: “You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”  — Isaiah 26:3

Could that be it?  Is peace a synonym of contentment? I believe it is.  I believe that keeping your mind steadfast and trusting in the Lord WILL bring you great contentment(aka peace.) Now if we would only allow ourselves to do just that!

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“Gotcha Day”

confetti-celebration-background-colorful-vector-illustration-43624485In my family, we don’t celebrate what many in the adoption world call “Gotcha Day.”  We celebrate our kids’ birthdays, but we don’t celebrate the actual adoption day because we were a family long before the courts announced that we were.  Many families who adopt out of foster care feel the same way.  The actual adoption day is so full of emotions and not all of them should be celebrated.  So many years, the date and day go unnoticed by me, but today I noticed.  Six years ago today was our final adoption day for K.  She would love to be hosting a party tonight, but instead, it’s business as usual with her at a dance lesson, her dad out hunting, her brother watching TV and the sun rising and setting the same as it always does.  So, though I won’t celebrate, today, since I noticed, I will reflect.  I dug out my journal and thought I’d share:

10-3-11           K’s ADOPTION DAY.  Oh Lord, my house is full. All of my family safe and sound under one roof. What a blessing. What a gift.  Today is Kaylee’s adoption day and I am full of emotions. I’m nervous, excited, scared and still a tad worried.  What a journey this has been.  There have been times when I’ve held a broken K and cried, there have been hugs to reassure her return, there have been days of crying in my closet refusing to eat. So, today we rejoice. Help me Lord to be a witness to you. Help me be grateful in all circumstances. Help me to witness to you. Let your light shine through and let this day be a celebration. Bring JOY to this family and healing to K.            *** Wrote the above and then read the Upper Room.  “In the same way your light must shine before people so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. — Matt 5:16 TEV Thought for the day: People are watching. What will my example inspire?”

“Your example will inspire others.”

It is my prayer that I’ve set a good example for others and that I have been a good witness in this continuing journey.  Let’s all try to make our examples inspire others!

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It’s Fall!

IMG_6197I just got this wave of excitement.  I’m all of a sudden really excited about something.  And, the fun part is that I don’t even know what it is.  The sun is shining and the colorful leaves are falling from the trees onto the green grass. My husband headed out to the church to help pare apples for the apple butter making tomorrow. I have some camouflage clothes hanging on the line for his outing into the woods tomorrow. I have a cinnamon candle burning. I’m thinking of baking some cookies…maybe pumpkin shaped or pumpkin flavored for the Children’s Pumpkinfest in a couple of weeks. I look at the calendar and see that my son and my mom’s birthday are approaching.  There is so much activity, so much fun. I’m excited because…..it’s fall!

Yesterday, I was sharing something with a friend and I said, “things have been good all fall.”  She reminded me that fall has only been in for less than a week.  I usually designate the first day of school as the first day of fall. But, in reality, fall began last week and today feels like fall and fall feels like fun!  Enjoy your day!

 

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Joy = Strength

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“I can’t do this. It’s impossible.  There’s no way I will ever be able to do this. I’m not strong enough to handle all of this.”  Those are things we often say to ourselves throughout the day and throughout the week.  We don’t feel like we are strong enough. Strength is defined as the state of being strong.  Wow.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be strong?!  How many of us actually feel strong most days?  I know myself that some days I wake and I feel like I can tackle anything.  All cylinders are firing. Other days, I wake and just drag.  I can almost tell that everything I attempt will be difficult. Where can I get the strength I need to get through this day and ultimately my life?

The scripture in Nehemiah 8:10 says, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  The joy of the Lord is my strength? Joy (aka the feeling of great pleasure and happiness) of the Lord is my strength. I can interpret that two ways and both of them sound fun.

  1. The Joy OF the Lord is my strength. So, what can I do to make the Lord full of great pleasure and happiness?  Surely not waking in the new day that he has given me and grumbling down the stairs to complain about all that I have to do that day.  I don’t think that brings Him joy.
  2. The JOY of the Lord is my strength. So, JOY is from the Lord.  Remember, Joy is feeling pleasure and happiness, so what should I do today to experience it?

Being that I am not a theologian and the fact that I just make this stuff up as I go, don’t hold me accountable, but I think that either interpretation will bring you joy and thus, bring the Lord joy. So, what can we do when we wake having one of those days when we aren’t feeling strong?

Yesterday I listened to a teaching by Hannah Keely that suggested, that we ask ourselves not only, “What do I have to do today?” but also “What can I do to have fun today?”   And, though her message wasn’t exactly what we are talking about, I think that quote fits in perfectly here. When we are trying to figure out what we have to do on any given day, we should also be figuring out how we are going to have fun that day.  I think that would renew our joy and therefore, give us STRENGTH.

Let’s go play and have fun and be strong!

10 Easy things adults can do to be silly and have fun:

  1. Call a friend who makes you laugh.
  2. Put silly photos of your family on the fridge.
  3. Write yourself a fun message on your bathroom mirror.
  4. Blow Bubbles!
  5. Play with your pet or the kid next store.
  6. Wave at people in passing cars.
  7. Read the funnies in the paper & mail the really good one to a friend.
  8. Play a prank on someone you love. (And who loves you enough to tolerate it!)
  9. Blow up a balloon and see how many times you can keep it in the air.
  10. Dance during commercials while watching TV

 

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength. — Nehemiah 8:10

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