Monthly Archives: September 2011

No Pain No Gain

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Last  week from Wednesday through Sunday, I was part of a Leadership Conference sponsored by C2C, a group of churches my church is affiliated with. It was an amazing time. Great music, teaching, panels and, best of all, visits with friends from all over the U.S, the U.K, & Sweden. After each evening session there were afterglows, basically a late night snack with more visiting time with people. That meant getting home sometime after midnight. I also did registration & tracking income/expenses so this was a working conference for me.

I have fibromyalgia, which a lot of people know just from the commercials for Lyrica, a drug I am very thankful for.  People have different ranges of symptoms with this disease. I tend to be in pain 95% of the time but the intensity can vary. Lack of rest is one thing that makes my pain levels rise. Needless to say, my levels rose with each passing day. I tried to get a nap each day & skipped Saturday morning’s panel. By Sunday I was in fairly intense pain. I’ve been chucking down pain meds ever since and finally tonight I am feeling much better. Getting 11 hours of sleep last night & not working today helped.

So the question you are probably wanting to ask me is was it worth it? It entirely was! I came away from the conference wiser because of the wonderful speakers. I came away happier because I got to see friends I have seen in years. I came away more peaceful because of the wonderful worship that brought the presence of God to all of us. It will take several more days for me to get back on track physically but that’s okay. You know the saying…

*For more info on fibromyalgia go here.

That Voice

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There are people you recognize just by the sound of their voice. You hear a familiar voice in the grocery store aisle and instantly know who it is. A flood of memories come back even if it’s been years since you saw that person.

What does that say about us? Some people are carved so deeply into our being, some for good and some not so good. They will always be a part of our personal sound track. It’s like hearing a song from high school and remembering where you were when you first heard it. My Uncle Wayne, who helped raise me for a time, has been dead for several years but sometimes when I am out and about I think I hear his voice. My heart irrationally leaps for joy even though I know he is gone.  And sadness comes when I realize it is someone else’s voice I hear.

On Nightline this week there was a segment on Alzheimer’s Disease.  Dr. Robert Stern of  Boston University School of Medicine said that the last thing to go was the person’s emotional feelings. “They might not remember who you are but… they still can connect.” I believe that the sound of our voices help carry those feelings. It is good to know that on some level love cannot be truly forgotten.

The voice of God is that way. I don’t mean the voice that you hear out loud but the one you hear inwardly. It reminds us of our love for him, where or who we were when we  first heard that voice calling us to a higher purpose than our own selfish desires. Even if we have walked away from God and our faith, the sound of his voice instantly reminds us that we are connected to him.

Have you experienced the voice phenomenon?

The Bigger They Are

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The Bigger They Are

Before her retirement, my mom worked in a male dominated job. She was Chief Technician of Nuclear Medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. She started in what is now known as the “Mad Men” era. I have pictures of her with a bouffant hair-do, wearing a cinched waist dress, white lab coat and 3 inch spiked heels.

She was surrounded by doctors. These weren’t just regular nice doctors who you go see when you have a cough, but Big Name, World Famous, Huge Ego Doctors. My mom, who was raised with four brothers, knew how to hold her own when those docs would try to push her around. Mom’s saying was, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” She didn’t let herself be intimidated but held her ground when she needed to.

When I was in grade school our “big name” was a physically imposing bully named Fred. We all played dodge ball in those days. It was the 60s, we never thought of things like dangerous games or having cushy padding under the jungle gyms. Oh, and we had jungle gyms with sharp edges too! When Fred was playing dodge ball you took your life into your hands if you entered the game. He could make the 2nd toughest kid in school cry like a baby. I tried to stay away from him but sometimes I went home with a nice big bruise from our rock hard dodge balls. Or spit balls in my hair.

Now this is the part where you are wanting me to tell you I creamed Fred one day in dodge ball and he never hurt anyone again. If you think that way you watch way too many sappy movies. It took years to exact my revenge. I had to wait until my junior year of high school. Fred really wanted to go out with me. He even tried to get my grandma, who house sat for Fred’s parents, to fix us up.

“He’s a nice boy!” said Grandma. “Why are you so picky?” So I would tell her the horror stories from elementary school. “That’s ridiculous. He’s such a handsome and polite young man. Go out with him.” Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen. No matter how hard Fred tried to persuade me, I just wouldn’t go out with him. I didn’t trust him. I knew his temper. Sorry, dude, you should have though about how gorgeous I would be in future before you held me to the ground and aimed a magnifying glass on my face at high noon in 6th grade. I felt like I had finally beaten my grade school bully. And, no, I don’t regret it.

I watched a bully get defeated today. His name is Satan & he was out for destruction (as usual). His plan got crushed by a brave person who had the guts to do the right thing and because they did, he took a dodge ball to the head. Game over. Forever. Like Mom says.

*Inspiration for today’s post came from here.

 

Today’s Moving Moment

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Going to Wal-Mart in my town isn’t just going shopping, it’s a social event. Anytime of the day or night you are bound to run into someone you know. I know tons of people here because I worked at the university for several years, worked at the hospital in admissions, and am on staff at one of the largest churches in the city. Add to that my son being in Special Olympics and part of the sizable disabled community. I am routinely shocked by how many people I have shared parts of my life with.

After work today I ran to Wal Marts (as it’s called here) to pick up a few things. When I got out of my car I saw my former student, Shelby. As soon as I walked inside I spied my friend & current coworker/church member Jodie. We had just told each other goodbye at work and here we were, together again. After that I chatted with someone I had met at the hospital. Sheesh! I just wanted milk!

Then, unexpectedly, in the detergent aisle, I choked up, my eyes started to tear, and the realization of how much I enjoyed being in a place where I knew so many members of my community. That never happens in big cities. There was no previous experience that prepared me for the feeling of not being anonymous in a grocery store. Or at the gas station, McD’s, or the dentist office. I will miss this enormously. I will miss all of you, people of my life, more than you know.

 

Recharge Renew

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Life, as I observed on my Google+ stream last week, moves fast. The older I get, the more I am aware of this fact. Last February, Harold met with a team of people who we deeply trust. To put it in business language there were some vacancies that needed to be filled and our team wanted to know if we were interested in filling any of them. We were indeed interested in one specific church that we felt we could help out. So the seed of decision was planted with details to sprout at a later date.

In our church circles we don’t really make decisions in a vacuum. There are no “lone ranger” leaders. There are several reasons for this. One, we believe it is biblical to seek counsel from people who know us well and are, yes, wiser than us, before making major decisions. Two, there are too many lives at stake to risk making a decision out of vanity, tiredness, boredom, ego, etc. When I say “lives at stake” it doesn’t mean someone will get shot & die. It means we are leaders and when leaders screw up it affects the people around them in a negative way. Harold & I don’t want  that to happen to the people we serve and live life with. We care about them too much.

As could be predicted the time between February and now flew by. Trying to get time to have long discussions between my husband and I was next to impossible.  Late at night, when we were bleary eyed and not long on patience or thinking ability, we would try to talk about our upcoming move. There were so many questions to answer: when, where, what to take, what to leave, how to transition our special needs son, and more. Ugh!

So Friday afternoon we jumped in the car and headed to Des Moines, where we hadn’t stayed before, to get some time to talk, pray & rest. I will say here that Des Moines is a difficult city to eat in. We had a heck of a time finding anywhere to eat. It also rained all of Saturday, canceling our plans for the zoo and botanical gardens. We both do well walking and talking at the same time so we like to do that. 🙂 One of  the best things was the time spent in the hotel jacuzzi because it brought my fibromyalgia pain level way down so I could walk longer. Where did we walk? In a ginormous mall of course. There were Labor Day sales everywhere so we picked up so cool clothes cheap. But I digress.

Saturday morning we spent talking about and listing each other’s “Things I Absolutely Know About Myself” and adding to each others list. When you’ve been married for 28 years you know some stuff about your spouse. It was fun. Then in the afternoon it was on to “If I Could Do Anything I Wanted for a Job What Would It Be?”  and “How Does That Fit” into the possibilities where we are going. We talked about things that the other should consider. Harold thinks I should consider going back to college to finish up my degree. Hmmmm. I wasn’t real keen on that but I was also dismayed that I thought of it 10 seconds before he said it. Yikes.

Saturday night we found an amazing Italian restaurant. I had the most delicious wild mushroom risotto that I had ever tasted prompting me to find a recipe so I can attempt it at home. We had Baskin Robbins ice cream (their rocky road in my favorite ice cream of all time) for dessert. By the time we got back to our room we were all talked out, but felt more solid on some details.

Sunday we had breakfast at Starbucks, shopped a little more, talked a little more, prayed a little more and got home by late afternoon. We are SO blessed to have a wonderful adopted* daughter, Kristen, who stayed with Evan so we could go out of town. She is the absolute best sister he could ever have. They crack each other up which is great, and she can get him to do all his chores which is helpful also.

While you might not have life changing things to decide, should you consider taking some time out also? It was a great time for us and I think it would be for you also.

*Adopted here means in spirit. Kristen lived with us for a year when she was a senior in college and is now considers herself a herlastname-Forbis.