Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Saying - Thankful

 I'm thanking you, God, from a full heart, 
I'm writing the book on your wonders. 
I'm whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; 
I'm singing your song, High God. 
- King David in Psalms 9
  Thanking God that Joseph is standing here with me!
His abdomen swelling is down and the incision is healing well. 
He's standing almost straight upright -
he walked like an 80 year old at first.
Happy to be headed to church with him today!

Give thanks to God - he is good
      and his love never quits
1 Chronicles 16:34

Saying thank you is more than good manners. 
It is good spirituality. 
- Alfred Painter

So I thank God for Joseph's healing and 
I thank YOU for all your prayers and support the past 2 weeks!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Waiting ...

Waiting is hard! 
And we need to wait in many areas of our lives. 

“Between the wish and the thing life lies waiting.”

- Author Unknown

Some of the normal, mundane waits involve traffic lights, check-out lines and doctor's offices. These we do often, the waits are relatively short - so they don't usually cause great anxiety or stress. We expect these waits and handle them with patience. (and if you don't - you need to work on that, because you will have to contend with them for the rest of your life)

Some waits are just plain annoying - like the waiting that has to happen when trying to loss weight. Lack of waiting ability is what screws up most diets. Losing weight is a major waiting event! When you decide you want to get to a healthy weight - you monitor what you eat and you exercise. You do this for a few days and you feel so good/holy/successful about yourself - but then you're sick of it! All 10/20/50 pounds should be gone by now - gosh darn it! You are tried of waiting for this new eating plan to do its thing. The reality is - it will cause you to loss weight, if you can wait patiently, while sticking to the plan!

Other waits are scary - unlike weight loss, you aren't sure what the outcome will be at the end of the waiting time. This would include waiting on applications or test results - could be educational, employment or medical. This type of waiting sends you on a roller coaster. You want the waiting to be over. No, you don't want the waiting to be over - because living in the land of uncertainty might be better than the yes, no or maybe answer will be.

The waiting I'm in right now is somewhat in its own category. I'm waiting on a body to heal. I know bodies heal. I've seen and lived it for myself. But this time its not my own body I'm waiting on. It's my child's body that needs to heal. His trauma, injury, surgeries are in the past - now we wait. 

At nineteen, waiting on your body to heal is hard. At forty-four, seeing him have to wait is hard! He has a full life to live and right now it's reduced to eating, sleeping and resting. 

I know healing is affected by what we do - rest, medicines, exercise and food. It all plays a part - for better or for worse. When it's my own body healing, I can feel where that line is. When it's someone else, I can't. I can watch, monitor and assume, but ultimately I don't know exactly how he's feeling. So the poor guy is constantly having to answer my "how are you feeling" questions. I try to walk the line of caring mother, but not smother. I encourage him that healing will happen, he will not feel like this forever and things will get better.

As I hear what I'm saying to him, I'm reminded how interwoven waiting well and having the correct perspective is - in any kind of waiting. 

The mundane waits - the light will change, you will get to part with your money and the doctor will see you - why cause damage to yourself by stressing?

When losing weight - keeping the vision of a healthy body in mind makes the waiting easier. Knowing someday you can have a piece of chocolate again gives you strength to wait until that day and not blow your plan today. 

During the uncertain waits - correct perspective is critical. Being realistic about the fact that you could enjoy major bliss or suffer major disappointment is wise, but understanding that God will help you whatever the result helps make the waiting tolerable.

And when waiting for a body to heal - whether its your own or someone else, the correct perspective can help you have peace as you wait. Healing will happen and things will get better or as my mother often said, "This too shall pass." 
"When we have done our best, we should wait the result in peace." - Sir John Lubbock   

What type of waiting is hardest for you? What have you learned about waiting well? Would love to hear some tips!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Suddenly ...

Suddenly ...
My day and my world changes.
What I planned to do changes because of what I must do.
Reading a text from my son's friend changes the day and more.

Suddenly ...
The run I expected to go on doesn't happen.
I pick up my husband, instead of changing into running clothes.
Instead of running, I'm driving to a hospital - praying.

Suddenly ...
I find myself panicking at what all could be wrong.
The message from his snowboarding buddy replays in my mind.
Joe landed hard on his right side - couldn't breathe at first.

Suddenly ...
I recall him saying that Joe walked over to the first aid building.
And I breathe easier thinking of cracked ribs and bruises.
Instead of him being paralyzed or worse.

Suddenly ...
The chaplain takes us to a small room.
The doctor enters the room with a concerned face.
With words that sound odd to me, "Your son is a very sick boy."

Suddenly ...
I realize this will not be as good as I've convinced myself it will.
I hear words from the doctor - bleeding, kidney, life-threatening!
I scream quietly to God for help - give me strength and peace!

Suddenly ...
I feel a measure of peace - it comes from deep within.
I breathe deep a few times - oxygen is good for me.
I wipe tears away and force myself to hear the ugly words.

Suddenly ...
I am calm again. I can talk. "What can you do to help Joe?"
Surgery, cat scan, blood transfusions - the words continue.
"We'll save the kidney if we can. But if bleeding persists, we'll have to remove it."

Suddenly ...
The doctor leaves. I'm glad. I heard all the words I can handle.
Plus I want him to be with Joe. Joe needs him.
And Joe needs a mom with enough peace that she can pray - for him and for the doctors.

Suddenly ...
I feel that peace - the peace I recognize that is not my own.
It's not something I can manufacture or motivate myself.
It's peace from my creator - the maker and giver of peace, even when I'm terrified.

As I pray I realize the "peace that passes understanding" is strong enough to hold me this moment even though I don't know what the outcome of this "suddenly" in our world will be.

This post is part of the Blog Carnival - Peace - hosted by Bridget Chumbley over at One Word at a Time.
PSS. New readers - my son Joe was injured on Sat. Jan. 16, 2010. He is at home now recovering from having his right kidney removed because it was split in half from the impact. He is expected to make a full recovery. I posted updates about his injury and hospital stay, starting here. Here's a recap post.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Update on Joseph

I assume after this update on Joseph, I will return to my regular blogging (whatever that is) 

He came home this afternoon. He will have some recovery time, but all in all is doing well considering what he went through the past week. Recap ...
  1. Saturday January 16, 2010 around 12:30PM - Joseph (age 19) landed on his right side while doing a back flip on his snowboard. He's been doing flips for about 3 or 4 years - he's a safety conscious kid - always wearing a helmet, wrist guards, etc.
  2. He was taken by ambulance to Lehigh Valley Trauma Center
  3. We arrived around 3PM and he was in surgery already. 
  4. Sometime in the evening, doctor informed us Joseph was in a critical life-threatening situation, due to internal bleeding from his right kidney. It was damaged, but the doc was going to do everything to try to save it.
  5. Around 7PM - the doc made the call to remove the kidney. They couldn't stop the bleeding and the cat scan showed severe damage to it. 
  6. 9:30PM - Doc came back from surgery, said the kidney was split in two, so removing it was the right call. Upgraded Joseph to stable, but critical. Incision on abdomen was left open due to swelling.
  7. Joseph received a total of 13 units of blood on Saturday and Sunday
  8. Incision was partially closed in surgery on Monday. Joseph stayed on Breathing Machine and was sedated until Thursday, when incision was fully closed in his 4th surgery.
  9. Moved out of ICU on Saturday - almost exactly a week after entering it.
  10. No driving or lifting for at least a week - he should recover well and be able to live a full life without side effects of only having one kidney.
He's in fairly good spirits - though annoyed that he received this severe an injury from such an 'easy' trick. As the nurse was giving him discharge instructions - she mentioned that he might need to have us tie his shoes for a week or so. With a grin on his face, he mentioned that he was wondering how he was going to buckle his snowboarding boots. "Will you help me with them too?"

Funny - not!

Physically, he knows snowboarding is out of question for this season and we'll cross the bridge next winter when we get there. I got hurt in a vehicle accident and I drive/ride in vehicles regularly, but vehicles are essential to life (unless you are Amish) and snowboarding is not. He will be 20 years old this May, so I think come next winter, he'll have to make the call whether or not he wants to do flips while snowboarding again.

Right now we are celebrating life and thanking God for healing and that Joe is home again!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Sunday Update on Joseph

If Joesph's temperature stays down, he can come home tomorrow! All his tubes and lines have been removed. He's on an oral pain killer and after he took that, he said he only has a little bit of pain.

He's eating and walking - he walks slowly and carefully, but is happy to be up. He wondered why he couldn't just go home today because he didn't sleep well last night. He has a roommate now - a dear sweet older gentleman, that talked half the night.

Hopefully he can sleep better tonight and then sleep in his own bed tomorrow night!

Thanking God for the way he created our bodies that they can heal. And thankful for the people, skills and technology here at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

This was the scene about an hour ago when Jerry and I left the room ...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Update on Joseph

Joseph will be moving out of ICU today - praise God!

He's eating jello now ... which is tough for him because he doesn't even like jello on a good day. The nurse informed him he has to eat all of it before he gets anything else - so he asked Nikki if she'd eat it for him. She politely declined.

He walked around the nurses station this morning and is now exhausted from the workout.

By last night, Joseph was not confused anymore and starting to remember details about life. Hearing two friends talk about college, he remembered his classes and asked what he will do about college. We told him not to worry about them at this time.

He remembers coming into the hospital. “I was in a room with a lot of people. I heard someone yell, THIS ONE’S A CODE RED! Then I was quickly moved to another room with a lot more people and that’s all I remember.”

Jerry and I had been told on Saturday night that his situation was dire ... but it didn’t really sink in. On Sunday, a nurse again told us how critical a ruptured kidney is and that they thought they were going to lose him a time or two. We then told Nikki how life-threatening his situation had been. Nikki is like me in that she wasn’t ready to share that with everyone yet. We needed to absorb it first. Over the last few days, we’ve talked to more of his doctors/nurses and they all repeat similar words that make us shudder every time. “You had a very sick boy.” “I didn’t know if he would make it.” “He almost bled to death.” “He’s very fortunate to be alive.”

We didn’t think he needed to know about losing a kidney and that he almost died yet. But one of his nurses told him ... I really like the nurse, so I wasn’t totally upset about it, but I would have appreciated if Joe won’t have known quite so soon.

Last night, he said he’s thankful he’s alive, but he’s sad about losing a kidney ... especially from doing a simple backflip (to me a backflip is not simple!) he wishes he could at least blame it on a major tough trick or jump.

Please pray for peace for him as he processes this major life incident.

He told us he created some unintentionally excitement in his room last night ... “I needed to use the bathroom and couldn’t find my call button. I had to go BAD! Looking around for it, I saw that call button (red button on the wall above his bed) I propped myself up on one arm and was able to reach it.”

“Pulling it down, I quickly found out that’s not a normal call button - it's the “OH SH*T” button! Four nurses came running in here in a panic.”

Thankfully his sense of humor is still intact :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Update on Joseph

Joseph is more alert and less confused today. He is still on a morphine drip, but it doesn't seem to be affecting his mind as much. He remembers his fall ... telling us that it was just a normal back flip (something he's been doing for 3 years) and he landed on his arm with his elbow jamming into his side.

The doctors have given the okay to move forward a few steps today ... catheter removed, clear liquid diet, stomach suction tube will be removed around noon and then getting out of bed later today. If all goes well, maybe out of ICU by tomorrow.

Please pray his temp comes down - it continues to be around 100 - but there are no other signs of infection, so they think its from inflammation.  

Yesterday's update was fun to write ... but as the day went on, I found myself concerned about his long-term recovery again. I'm encouraged after seeing him this morning and trying to rest in "the peace that passes all understanding." 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday Update on Joseph

Surgery went great this morning. He was back in his room by 10AM - and I’ve been busy ever since ... helping him become human again (his words) Nikki and I have been trying to decipher how his ship crashed and what the little men at his feet and the creatures behind his head are doing.

The incision was closed the whole way in surgery - praise God!! He is off the vent and sedation meds. He has a morphine drip now - hence the stories. OMG - morphine must affect him the same way it affected me. When a monitor beeps - he tells us to answer his cell phone. He is very annoyed if he hears Nikki and I laughing, so we play along with his stories, telling him we will get his car keys and a magnet for him. (and not just any magnet, it must be 5” long!)

The nurse has given him a few sips of water already - which he was very grateful for saying, “Thank you.” As long as Nikki or I are in the room, the nurse will leave the restraints off his hands. He itches is face/nose, but seems to remember that the nurse told him not to pull out the tubes, but we have to watch him closely.

Nikki and I are getting T-shirts made saying Mom and Not Mom. When the nurse first asked if he knew who we are - he looked at me saying “Mom” and at Nikki saying “Not Mom.” But he knows her name, because a minute later when she turned away from the bed laughing, he said, “Nikki - seriously!" He also wanted her to sit on the bed near him.

He’s sleeping at the moment - I think it will be a day of sleeping and stories :)  The nurse said he should improve fairly quickly now - maybe some food later today. Out of bed tomorrow and out of ICU soon after that.

Thank you God!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Not Alone With Questions

Saw this on the People of The Second Chance site - it goes along with my previous post about the good, bad and ugly, so I had to post it. Good reminder that none of us is alone with our questions and wondering why.

Disappointed (With God) from David Tate on Vimeo.

Question - The Good, Bad and Ugly?

Last week I posted a question and wrote "I plan to post a question every week. Sometimes the question will have more depth than others - depends what stirs my curiosity at the time."

This is an another question post.

Most people that believe in God give him credit for the good things in life. But when it comes to the bad and ugly in life - there are different opinions.

Some people think the bad and ugly are a result of choices someone (ourselves or others) makes.

Others think that everything - including the bad and ugly - that happens is part of God's plan for us.

Others see the devil behind every corner and think that bad and ugly is a direct result of his plan.

Still others think its all a result of this earth we live in.

And many believe in varying combinations of the above.


Me ... I'm trying to figure it out.

I know enough to know that I don't know why some things happen. I know there are mysteries in life and if I ever tell you why this or that happened - please ask me how I think I know. 

So that's my question to you. Do you have theories about why/how 'the good, bad and ugly' happen in life? If so, care to share? 

Wednesday Update on Joe

I'm having a day of rest at home today. Jerry is with Joe. He called with a report after the doctors came by on rounds. Joe continues to be sedated and on the breathing machine, but he is stable and progressing ... slowly, but surely.

Still has a fever and he was restless in the night and seemed in pain, so the meds have been increased slightly, so he's really out of it - not even opening his eyes.

The MRI last night showed that his neck is fine - so the neck brace has been removed. Jerry said they washed his hair and shaved his face, so he is looking good now :)

Plans are to take him into surgery tomorrow to further close his abdomen incision. The swelling is going down a lot ... but only after they have him in the OR will they determine whether they can close it the whole way.

As for visitors ... he can't have visitors until that wound is totally closed. You are welcome to come visit Jerry and/or I when we are at the hospital, but you might want to check with us first to make sure we are available - thanks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Morning Doctor Report

Doctors were very encouraged with his progress ... they say he's doing well considering the severe injury he had. He will recover and be fine! Thanks Dr. S and Dr J - I needed to hear that!!

During surgery yesterday a type of wound-vac called the Whittman Patch (don't google if you don't like gruesome pics) was placed in the open incision.  This promotes healing and allows them to gently close the incision little by little at bedside or in the OR. They described is as pulling velcro together. Dr. S will be looking at it today and probably pulling it shut a little more at bedside, then tomorrow Joe will go to OR again. The docs seemed semi confident that it can be completely closed tomorrow - but it might be Thursday.

They were happy with the changed feeding tube, his vitals, temp (its down to 99 now) and his urine - clear, no more blood!

With an injury - a neck collar is standard procedure until cleared. Earlier x-rays and/or cat scan have shown there are no fractures, but they cannot remove it unless an MRI clears the potential of ligament damage or the patient can clearly say that he has no pain in his neck. Trying to avoid a MRI, they were waiting until Joe wakes up, but now that it could be Thur or Fri until he's not sedated, they have scheduled an MRI today - so hopefully the collar can be removed after that.

Yesterday I noticed his right elbow was slightly black and blue, so I asked for an x-ray. The results are back - no breaks, just bruised.  The docs feel that is probably what he jammed into his kidney and caused the rupture.

He hasn't responded to me this morning, because he is really groggy from the extra meds to change the feeding tube. So, I didn't stay in long, because I want him to be able to sleep - so he doesn't feel or know anything!

Now ... off to call Penn State Berks to cancel his classes for this semester. He has calc II and chem II this semester, along with a few other classes and he will be too far behind by the time he can go. He will so annoyed when he realizes this ...

Tuesday Morning Update on Joe

Joe is basically the same. they had started a nose feeding tube last night, but it wasn't working right, so they just removed it and started a mouth feeding tube. hopefully this will work because the boy needs food. I am sure he's loving the dirty brown formula they are giving him - not!

docs just arrived on rounds, so will update after.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Evening Update on Joe

Tonight ... is hard. I was hoping he would be awake more today, but his temperature rose around noon again. His white cell count hasn’t changed, so they don’t think he has an infection, but they are doing blood and urine cultures to check.

They are using ice and Tylenol to try to bring his temp down. Plus, when the nurse asked him if he’s having pain, he shook his head yes, so his pain meds were increased. So with the duo of more pain meds and Tylenol - he’s really sleeping soundly all the time.

Which is good ... I know that’s best for him, but I’m tired of this already. Please pray that I can have patience and peace.

I wrote the above ... then Nikki and I went in to see him during the evening visiting hour and he was awake!! Thank you God! He shook his head no when I asked if he's having pain. Nikki and I stood there and talked to him for a little. Then wanting to give Nikki a few minutes alone with him before we left, I told him I'm going home for the night and will see him in the morning. I kissed his hand, said good bye and started walking out of the room. Nikki called me back and pointed out that he was slowly wiggling his fingers. I asked him if he was waving good-bye and he shook his head yes.

So I go home with a measure of peace - it will be okay.

Monday morning update on Joe

Joe’s surgery this morning was delayed ... just spoke with the doc 30 minutes ago, then went to see Joe. The surgery report is a mixture of good and bad news. Doctor said everything in his abdomen looks good and is healing well - but swelling is still too much to totally close the incision. It’s partially closed and at this time the plan is to try to close it again on Wednesday - which means he will be on the vent and sedated until after that :(

We are sad about that - for him and ourselves. Nikki was hoping he’d have it out before she heads back to college on Wed.

Good news ... he doesn’t have a fever anymore and his swelling continues to go down, so he looks better. And the big news - he’s peeing well, which means the other kidney is working good. (its amazing what you get excited about in a hospital) Also, with all his internal bleeding some of the blood had gotten into his bladder and his urine was very bloody at first ... but now it is clearing up.

Some of you asked what he was doing when he got hurt. He was doing a back flip - which he did many times before. The front of his board caught something and flipped him at an odd angle and he landed on his right side without having time to put his arms out to stop himself. He’s fairly safety conscious - always wears a helmet and wrist guards to snowboard. Guess he should have had a worn a bullet proof vest or something to protect his kidney!

Here's the first post about Joe getting hurt on Saturday.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Evening Update on Joe

Today has been a calm day for Joe - no major procedures or things happening. The docs wanted his body to have time to catch up on all that its been through. His vital signs have stayed stable. He's had a temp around 103 most of the day and we're still waiting to hear what the blood test show the white blood cell count was from the blood drawn at 4PM.

Unfortunately, a MRSA nose swab that was done when he came in showed positive ... nurse said its colonized, which I understand to mean he's had it in the past, but it isn't necessarily active now. The nurse said it shouldn't be any big deal, but now we do have to wash and suit up when we go see him.  

He's been sleeping almost every time we went in - expect one time when Jerry told him Nikki (his girlfriend) was there, Joe motioned with his hand that he wants to hold her hand. So she held his hand (gladly!) and he squeezed it a time or two, then fell asleep again.

Surgery is scheduled for 8:40AM tomorrow to determine the condition of the abdomen incision. They started a diuretic today to help bring the swelling down and already the protrusion is looking smaller. There are three options they will consider while in the OR.
  1. close it completely
  2. close it partially and take him back to OR in a day or two to totally close it
  3. put a wound vac on it to help it heal more and try closing it in a few days
Obviously, we are praying for option #1!

That would also mean the breathing machine would come off and the sedation would end - so we could communicate with Joe again :)

I'm tired and plan to go home to sleep tonight and be back in the morning before he comes back from surgery around 9:30 or 10. 

Sunday Morning Update on Joe

Jerry and I were in with Joe when the doctors came to do rounds aroung 9AM. They are happy with his progress. Heart rate and temp up slightly, but vitals are stable. Protrusion from incision is still the same - it's covered with gauze but still disgusting. (can you tell I couldn't be a nurse) 

He is swollen from all the fluids they pumped into him. He's had 13 units of blood and multiple liters of other fluids. His face looks round and chubby like it did when he was a toddler. (except for the whiskers on it now)

They are scheduling him for OR tomorrow to see if the swelling is down enough to close the incision - which means he would then be off sedation and the vent :) That is my prayer! The vent is miserable!

The nurse said when she rolled him slightly this morning, he tried to help by moving himself. She said, "Don't - you'll hurt yourself. Don't you have pain?"

He shook his head no.

Tough, determined kid that he is ... I know he won't complain about pain very easily, even if he's feeling it. So my prayer right now is that he isn't feeling pain ... and my practical 'help' is telling the nurse to give him regular pain meds even if he's not complaining! Hey, a mom has to do what a mom has to do to keep her kids comfortable.

 Joseph - last year at age 18

Son Joseph Injured

My 19 yr old son Joseph fell while doing a flip on his snowboard around 12:30 on Saturday. His friend Eric said he had a hard time catching his breathe. He throw up the lunch he had just eaten, but then got up and snowboarded the rest of the way down the hill. He said it felt like he might have broken a rib so they went to ski patrol. Eric said then Joe started to walk really slow and bent over. As he was being examined, he really started to fade and an ambulance was called.

Eric called Jerry and I and by the time we drove the hour to Lehigh Valley Hospital, Joe was in surgery.

Doctor came out an hour or two later with grim news. Joe had fallen hard on his right side and that kidney was severely damaged. Doc wasn't sure it could be repaired, but wanted to give it a little time to see if the bleeding stops.

Bleeding did not stop, so kidney was removed in a 2nd surgery. Doc said this surgery could take up to 4 hrs, but it only took an hour and a half. Doc said it went really well.

Joe's vitals stabilized after that.

Abdomen is swollen from bruising everywhere, so the incision was left open to allow his guts room to expand. It is covered with a dressing, but it looks really odd. His normally very flat abs now have a major distension protruding out about 5" x 7" or so.
This incision will remain open for a few days until the swelling goes down. He will be sedated and on a breathing machine so he doesn't move.

As for me, I've already been scared, sad, anger, annoyed (not at him, just at the circumstances) and grateful! Grateful at the love of people.... there was a roomful of friends here and many more (near and far) sending messages of love - thank you!

And I am grateful that Joseph survived! And he should be able to do life almost as before with one kidney - minus snowboarding, of course.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pain Hurts

I'm disappointed in myself... I'm having a hard time looking at pictures or video of Haiti. For the first day or so, I didn't. I turned away when images were on the TV or clicked to another site when online to avoid seeing the images. I cared about them. I read everything I could find about it. Words I could handle - pictures I couldn't.

I didn't want to feel the pain that I knew I would if I looked.

I'm not totally heartless - I sent a text and clicked a button to send money that I was going to use for a new outfit for an event this weekend. That kind of 'pain' I can deal with - I have clothes in the closet to wear. But looking at the pictures - that involves pain I'm not sure what to do with.

But - millions are living through this hell day by day - moment by moment! Yet, I can't even look at it? 

I need to look at it - I need to feel the pain. Love doesn't look away. Love cares enough to look and feel every ounce of pain there is to feel.

Only then is love real!  

The God I follow is love. So I can be love also.

Yesterday I looked. I forced myself to see the sadness, loss and destruction. I forced myself to look into the faces and eyes. It hurt just like I knew it would. The pain was/is ugly. 

Now what does love do with that pain? 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Winning Wednesday Winner

The winner of What Difference Do It Make is

Lou Ann Gehman
from Adamstown, PA

Congratulation Lou Ann!
no need to send me your address - I will give it to you on Sunday :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winning Wednesday - What Difference Do It Make?

During November, I gave away a copy of the Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent. This was a book I couldn't put down once I started it, so when I saw they had written a second book, I wanted to read it also. I read it, liked it and want one of my readers to be able to enjoy it also.
 So this week's Winning Wednesday is a copy of:   
by Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent 

Whether you've read their first book or not, you will enjoy this book. It's filled with new, stand-alone true stories of hope and healing - some of the stories are the authors and some are sent in by readers of Same Kind of Difference as Me. 

Reading about the love these two men have for each other and for God is a joy.  And seeing the difference they make to people around them gives me hope and confidence that I can make a difference in this world also. It's an easy read, but packed with wisdom and encouragement. 

I like the honest, fresh comments from the authors. In one chapter, Denver is tough on Christians ... he wonders why some of them are so busy studying the Bible - they don't have time (or don't want to) do what it says. He also says, "Everbody's lookin for God everywhere on the outside. He ain't in no book, and He ain't in no preacher, and He ain't in nothin or no one on the outside. You got to go inside 'cause that's where God is - in the deepest place inside you." 

I like this man and his logic.  

Leave your name for a chance to win this hardcover book.
Winner will be posted on Friday.

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I wasn't required to write a positive review. The opinions I've expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, January 11, 2010

Question: Why - Ducks and Coats?

I think I was born saying "Why?" As a child, I wanted to know about everything. Then for a time, I stuffed (or tried to) that impulse - because "it's wrong to question everything." Thankfully, I realized questions aren't wrong - not being true to the way my creator made me is probably more harmful.

So today is a 'Question' post. I plan to do these every week. Sometimes the question will have more depth than others - depends what stirs my curiosity at the time.

Yesterday the sun was bright, but the temps never made it up to 30F degrees - they've been stuck in the 20's for the past week or two. I decided to go for a walk - figured if you can't beat it, why not join it? I walked around the lake at a local state park.

 Half of it was frozen.

 Half it was not frozen.

I was amazed at two things - the people braving the ice when half of the lake was not frozen and the birds braving the water when there was ice on half of it.

The people I won't even try to figure out ...

As I watched the ducks and geese, I was amazed how they could do that without freezing to death. They just flew or swam out there without having to put on anything to survive.

Before I ventured out into this tundra, I had to put on multiple layers to stay warm and survive.
  • A shirt and pair of leggings that wicks moisture away from my skin
  • Fleece shirt
  • Windbreaker coat and pants
  • Good socks
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Gloves
  • Beanie
  • Neck Gaiter (who's the genius that came up with that name?)
The ducks and geese naturally grow feathers needed to stay warm to live in this area, as do animals and other birds all over the planet. They have natural resources to survive the climate they live it. So applying that logic, it looks like I (and all people) should live in southern climates, where I can stay warm without needing to put on half a clothing store before venturing out.

And it made me wonder something about God and creation ...
We've all heard (and probably said0 how great it is that God made the animals with certain things to survive in the environments he placed them in. Fish have gills, birds have wings, ducks have feathers and on and on it goes.

So my question is ... why would a creator make half of his world an environment that his masterpiece creation cannot survive in naturally, but instead need all kinds of adaptions from houses to heaters to clothes simply to survive?


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Saying - Realization

On Friday, while adjusting my back, Dr. Tom was in a teaching mood, "Adjusting your back will take time. Your body was used to doing life in a certain pattern and it won't change overnight. Some of that is because your brain has been telling those muscles to do life that way for years. Each adjustment helps your brain realize that it should send different signals to those muscles because their pattern of behavior is changing."

Then he said, "In order for there to be change - there has to be realization."

I'm not sure what he said after that, because I just had a major realization!

As I strive to change some habits I don't want to grow old with - I have to gently renew my body/mind/spirit so it realizes that something is changing. This will take time, it won't happen overnight (or even in a week or two)

I have to allow the x-ray of my spirit to help me realize where I need emotional and/or spiritual adjustments. If I want change and if I want to be renewed, I first need realization.

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” - Earl Nightingale

Realization - any areas in your life that need it? 

Saturday, January 09, 2010

X-Ray Talk at TED

I found this video about x-rays at Writing Without Paper, a blog by Maureen Doallas this morning.

I love it - especially considering I had x-rays of my back recently and that got me thinking about emotional and spiritual x-rays.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Incorrect Positions

The technology of X-rays isn't new, but it still fascinates me. With the click of a button or two - my doctor has pictures of my bones. Cool - isn't it?

My back and neck x-rays taken last month.

Other than some occasional aches, I don't have major issues going on with my back and neck, but I wanted to make sure all was well as I plan to increase the length of my runs this year.

These are the first thorough x-rays of my back since my bad accident (5+ years ago) and what he found surprised me. He pointed out a few vertebrae that show healed fractures. I don't recall being told about broken bones in my back post-accident. Maybe I forgot - after all, I was on a zillion meds. Or maybe my doctors at the time didn't see them. Or they saw them and decided by the time I am walking, they would be healed.

Two vertebrae that show fractures have healed well, but another one healed out of line. At this time, I don't have pain in that area, just tightness and discomfort. Pain could happen down the road if nothing is done. This doctor/chiropractor is confident that he can correct this issue with adjustments and therapy. I like and trust this guy (and am now annoyed I didn't go to him sooner) Years ago he saved my husband from needing back surgery when other doctors told him that surgery was the only option.

"I have to gently force your muscles and bone out of the incorrect position they've been in the past few years." He pointed at the x-rays. "This vertebrae needs to be in the position the others are. It's strong and won't move easily, but with continued force, it will need to."

"Force?" ... I cringe in pain.

"Yes, the adjustments will be painful, but doable. And once it's in the position it needs to be, your back will have more flexibility and will be able to handle the impacts of life - walking, bending, running, lifting - better."

Driving home, I become aware of how many of those concepts apply to other areas of my life - ranging from health habits to spiritual concepts to emotional baggage.

Anything that is in an incorrect position for years will not want to move - it will be a painful process to change. It will take force. There will be pain. But with gentle force it will need to move.

And once the area that was in an incorrect position is corrected - it will have more flexibility and will be able to handle the impacts of life better. 

The doctor knows what to do for my back based on the x-rays. If only, I could take an x-ray of my thoughts and emotions as easy as my bones. A new invention is needed! Seeing all the incorrect positions would make it easier to know what adjustments are needed. 

A gentle nudge in my conscious - and I'm reminded ... 

X-rays of the soul and mind have been invented. These x-rays even come with promises of wisdom and strength to make the needed adjustments. 

These x-rays go by the name "spirit" - Spirit of my amazing creator that lives in me.  

Any adjustments needed in your world - body, mind or spirit?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Willpower - Where are you?

How are your resolutions going?

It's harder than you thought it would be - isn't it?

I came across this site recently by the Heath Brothers - authors of "Made to Stick" and "Switch."

Two of their recent posts have helped me already...

Read them - they might help!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Breakfast of a Champion

Last winter I spent a few days with a friend on vacation.
She ate this almost every morning for breakfast.

 I like her. She's in great shape. I want to be just like her.
So this is what I eat for breakfast many mornings.

 1 - Banana
1 - Activa Light Fatfree Yogurt
 About 1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal
And I sprinkle cinnamon on top - I like the taste and cinnamon has some amazing health benefits.

And I'm sure - one day at a time and one bowlful at a time,
I'll be able to run/bike/lift weight like she does ... right :)

What healthy, easy foods do you enjoy?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Sunday Saying

A few months ago, I began reading Elizabeth Esther's blog. I like her writing - its honest, real and thoughtful. And its comforting to find someone else that asks as many questions at I do.

This Sunday Saying is a quote from a post of hers called I don't know what I know. 
"I keep midnight company with questions. Sometimes I make them a pot of tea and we stare bleakly at each other over the empty table and I say to them: "What do you expect me to do now?"
They shrug, sip their tea. We're sorry, they seem to say. We didn't ask to be here." ~Elizabeth Esther

Elizabeth Esther hosts THE SATURDAY EVENING BLOG POST the first Saturday of each month. This is where bloggers gather to share their best post from the previous month. I've joined the party this month and linked my most read post to her page. 

To meet new bloggers and read their best posts, go see Elizabeth Esther.

Saturday's Story - My Past Decade.

Yesterday I posted a youtube video with worldwide events/stories about past decade. That made me think about my past decade and I decided to I wanted to see it on paper. (Actually I would like a video of it, but writing it down is easier)
  • 2000 - Regular running - with a short race every few months - continued to keep my sanity as it had for the past six years. Seventh year as owners of Meadow Gardens - large retail garden center that kept both Jerry and I working a zillion hours a week. Joshua (7th grade) started doing school at home.
  • 2001- Also started teaching Joseph (6th grade) and Jonathan (2nd grade) at home. Sadden by 9/11. Realized I compromised more than I wanted to with never being able to go home from work (and having a hard time saying no) Meadow Gardens was on the same property as our house.
  • 2002 - Took first family vacation in a decade. Loved it - reinforced my thinking that something in our life needs to change. Thrilled to get a call from developer wanting our property. Began dreaming of life beyond the stress of being business owners. Negotiations for property and business sale began.
  • 2003 - Negotiations provided a roller coaster ride as they start and stop numerous times. November brings celebrating as papers are finally signed. Motorhome is bought and packed with necessities for about nine months of resting/relaxing/reconnecting as we travel across the country. Other stuff is put in storage and we hit the road - yes!
  • 2004 - Best time of my life, endless summer as we road trip the southern states. Relaxing runs on the beach are heaven on earth. Worst time of my life begins in May - woke up from a ten day coma, in a California hospital. Learned I almost died and might never walk again. Legs/hips are a mess of fractures and soft tissues wounds. I don't remember my first steps when I was two, but I'll never forget my first steps when I was 38 that August. Docs are thrilled, but cautious - all say running won't happen again.
  • 2005 - Physical recovery goes well, but an emotional/spiritual hurricane hits with force as I try to come to terms with the pain/limitations/scars and their affect on my life. Death looks appealing. Wisdom from counselors and care from loved ones helps me cope. Begin writing my story.
  • 2006 - Bump along between depression and gratitude. Experimental surgeries to reduce pain and increase mobility are successful - thank God! Slowly I get back to life, even walking and biking short distances. Joshua graduates from high school. Begin helping at church and in my community by organizing events. I start and stop writing my story many times. Thrilled to spend a few hours with author Philip Yancy in a 'Living Room Conversation.'
  • 2007 - Happy to spend a week in Florida with friend/family. Become Director of Women of Hope (my church's women's group) and we start iHope. I write sporadically. I learn to live in the tension of celebrating the miracles that happened, while being honest about grieving the disappointments I continue to live with.
  • 2008 - Don't like the pain I live with, so I try another surgery. Thank God, it's successful and allows me to stop taking pain meds and begin walking more. Running begins to look possible. In April - just God and I on a trail - I run again! It feels odd and hurts, but I can run. Step-by-step I get stronger and the pain subsides. Joseph graduates from high school. October brought sadness as I said good-bye to my younger sister.
If I picked one word to describe this past decade for me ... it would be change.  Everything changed in this decade - from my career to my physical body to my views about wine, religion and politics.

How was your decade?

    Friday, January 01, 2010

    The Past Decade in 7 Minutes

    It's interesting to relive what all happened in the past 10 years.