Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lagniappe February 28, 2015


  • Even though I spent January in South Florida, I'm still getting tired of this cold weather. Something is not right when you start to thing that double digits is "pretty warm"!!
  • Wild Man's kitten, Rory, gets declawed and spayed tomorrow. I'm pretty glad about the declawing part. Rory has not been destroying furniture, but she has been using her claws to terrorize Sophie (Rosie Girl's cat).
  • I'm missing homeschooling (more on that another time). I'm not missing the schooling as much as the "home" part. Wild Man is gone all day for school, then practice and/or work after school. Patrick, Wild Man and I went out for dinner Thursday night just because we had an evening together.
  • It's getting to be that time again. Yep, Botox! The countdown has begun. We're at 8 days right now, and my head is feeling it.
  • I just finished reading The Rosie Effect. The main character is a very organized, obsessive-type university professor. The story takes place in Australia, so all the characters have Australian accents in my head except for the main character. He sounds like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.
  • I started making beer-cheese soup on Tuesday, but it separated on me. Ick! I'll probably try again tomorrow or Monday.
  • Monday is Parent-Teacher day at the high school. PWM will be working all day, of course, but Wild Man likes me to come in and talk to his teachers. Last time, I had a migraine and only was able to talk to a few teachers. Here's praying for a better time this week. (And, isn't it cool that Wild Man likes me to come in to talk to his teachers??)
  • I've been meditating on worry and Matthew 6:25-34. More on that in another post.
So, what's up with you?

Monday, February 23, 2015

On Being Good (Enough)

I'm prompted to write today because of something that was written on Facebook that I think was intended to encourage fellow Christians to live lives of obedience to Christ. Sadly, it didn't come across to me that way. Maybe it's because of my years in Evangelicalism. Maybe it's my own tendencies to try to "earn" my way in life. This post is part of my trying to work that out in my own head.

I grew up in the heart of Evangelicalism - Southern Baptist churches. "Salvation by faith alone" was pounded into our heads from the time we could sit up in our Sunday School classes. We all memorized John 3:16 as soon as we could talk. Oh, and Bible Drills. These weren't just to to learn to look up verses. We also memorized verses - ripped right out of context (one of my pet peeves) - and learned to look them up quickly. "For by grace you have been saved", "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  By the time I was a teenager, I had heard so many sermons and Bible studies on Romans that I had a pretty good handle on that fact that our eternal salvation (to heaven) and our abundant life on earth are due to Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection and not due to anything I have done or could do.

But . . . but . . . but . . . At the same time, we were also taught something that Michael Spencer called "wretched urgency": the need to DO things for God now! As a teenager, it was generally phrased as "being sold-out for God" or something along those lines. We were encouraged to make sure that everyone at school knew about our faith and then be prepared for persecution. (All my friends knew about my faith and none of them persecuted me. I must have done something wrong.) We were told that we could be the difference between our friends' eternal destination being heaven or hell. A number of my friends initially planned careers in the ministry because of this "wretched urgency". They didn't all stay there. Another example: Only Christian music is good; all other music is terrible. Listening to anything but Christian music will ruin your witness for Jesus.

This continued into adulthood and continues even now. We have books like Radical by David Platt. And the number of books for Christian women that tell us how to be The Proverbs 31 Woman would fill a library. And they are all books telling Christians to be more committed. More holy. Work harder.

We are told that we are saved by faith, but somehow, we still have to work hard to make God happy. In this worldview, we got saved, but God needs us to do more. And if we want the world to know that we are good Christians, by golly, we need to show them by how good we are!

And there's plenty of scripture to support good works. After all, God does want us to be holy. Jesus' teaching is filled with examples of teaching us how to act. Paul's letters contain many instructions to the churches on how the members can behave in a more godly fashion. The book of James teaches us that faith without works is dead. In fact, it is said that Martin Luther questioned whether the book of James should be in the canon because of it's emphasis on works. Indeed, James and Romans seem to be saying almost opposite things at times.

So, there I was in my mid-30s, overwhelmed with life, and overwhelmed with being a good Christian. Then I came across a verse that I had read a million times, but suddenly stood out to me. 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 This verse comes right after Jesus reveals himself to be God, which is significant because he's making it clear that it is God himself who is offering to take our burdens. So, Jesus is saying that he will give us rest. This Christian life that was so hard to live. is supposed to be easier. In Ephesians 3:10, Paul says, "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Jesus doesn't want us to be struggling under this guilt of "doing more" for God. God already knows what he wants us to do; we can relax and just live our lives and pray for guidance. And Jesus takes our burdens. How cool is that? It's hard to learn, but it's real. Somewhere along the way, I had missed this. I heard the work harder part, but missed the "rest for your soul" part. And my soul needed rest.

One of the other things that I'm learning is John 15:1-17: abiding in Christ. I don't completely understand it and I certainly haven't learned to practice it well, but I think it's the key to getting away from the "wretched urgency" mindset and finding peace. When I can really abide in Christ, then I can be confident that the "works" that I'm doing are enough. There's no guilt about whether I should participate in this or that ministry or activity. Jesus gives me the grace I need for each day. And when I'm at the judgement, all I can ask is that he says, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Thoughts?



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lagniappe Feb 21, 2015

Here's just some random stuff from this week

  • We watched "The Theory of Everything" tonight. Overall, it was a good movie.  I'm always sad to see a marriage fail, so that wasn't good. It's amazing, though, that he has lived with some variant of ALS for about 50 years. Granted, he's down to one cheek muscle for communication. Without modern technology, he wouldn't be alive, much the less communicating. I'd recommend that you take the time to see the movie.
  • I'm reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. The main character is very much like Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory", so that's whose voice I hear as I read (the book is written in first person). However, the book is set in Australia, so the  characters should all have Australian accents. In my head everyone has Australian accents except the main character who has a mild Texas accent. Yes, it's strange.
  • A couple that I know just adopted an adorable little girl this week!! They signed papers today and put pictures on Facebook. I'm so excited every time another couple I know starts this exciting journey of parenthood!
  • Did you see the SNL 40th anniversary show? It was pretty funny. What was really bad, though, was that PWM and I told Wild Man that it was Jimmy Fallon and Dana Carvey that did Wayne's World. We had to admit we were wrong later this week and tell him that it was Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. Oops. Bad parent moment.
So, how was your week. Find me on Goodreads and see what I've been reading. Friend me so I can get some new book ideas. I can't knit all the time!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mardi Gras and my Appendix (or the lack thereof)


I love Mardi Gras! Not that we actually do much celebrating of Mardi Gras up here in The Great White North. But, I spent 5 years at LSU in Baton Rouge and 4 years at Tulane Med School in New Orleans, so I got to experience true South Louisiana Mardi Gras 9 times. And I still miss it, even after 20+ years!

One of those 9 years I don't miss, though. In 1993, my junior year of medical school, PWM and I were going to have a party on Lundi Gras, the day before Mardi Gras. We lived in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans, just a block from Veterans Avenue, so we planned to have people come over for dinner and then we would go see a parade. On Saturday, I went grocery shopping then came home. Soon after that, the trouble started.

I started having a stomach ache and nausea like I'd never had before, so I had PWM take me to the hospital. Since I was a Tulane student, you'd think I would have gone to Tulane Hospital. No. Not only was Tulane Hospital downtown where there was more traffic and the downtown parades, but there were Tulane residents. (The students were off rotation until after Mardi Gras.) I had a bad feeling about what was going on and I didn't want to be in the hospital where Tulane residents (and maybe students) would be on my care team. So, we went to Oschner Hospital.

After a short wait in the waiting room, too many visits by various levels of residents, and too long a wait for an attending surgeon, they finally all agreed that I had appendicitis. By this time, I was pretty sure I had appendicitis, too, and I was ready for a bed, some pain meds, and for everyone to quit mashing on my belly!!

The next morning, instead of going to church and then more parades, I had my appendix out. I was fortunate enough to get sent home that night, but I missed out on all the fun parades. Our apartment was close enough to Veterans that we could hear all kinds of partying going on that Monday and Tuesday. As it was, I was just hanging out and recovering.

I made it back to  school on Wednesday because medical students work unless they are dead. My attending threatened to ask for a pathology report, although I don't know why since I showed up and didn't ask for the day off. My resident, though, felt sorry for me and let me go early that day.

Despite this one bad Mardi Gras experience, I miss being around South Louisiana for Mardi Gras weekend. 

What's your favorite part of Mardi Gras? 

Monday, February 16, 2015

2015 Word of the Year

So, blogs are going out of fashion, I guess. Which means that I'll start writing on mine again.

It's the middle of February, so I've decided my word for the year. It's FOCUS. I have been really scattered the last few years and devoted energy to all kinds of unrelated things and haven't been very productive at any of theme. This year, I want to be more focused.

1. Focus on the spiritual - Love. How can I love the people I come in contact with in very practical ways? Reading scripture and walking with Jesus.

2. Focus on taking care of myself - I can't get so scattered that I don't do my meditation, yoga, and other self-care. Chronic migraine is a nasty disease and it already takes away too much of my life. I have to take care of myself to take care of other people.

3. Focus on my family - We're not homeschooling and Patrick is teaching, so our family dynamics are very different. I'm trying to focus on keeping a simple and clean home without lots of extraneous projects.

4. Focus on The Knitting Nest - We have an employee who keeps the doors to the shop open, but I need to focus my knitting time on building our business.

This doesn't mean that I'm going to try to work harder or do more things. In fact, I want to do fewer things. I want to do the right things. So, I'll always think about whether an activity is part of my focus and whether it's a good use of time.

How are you approaching 2015? What has worked so far for you this year?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Work

I miss working as a physician. Not just because of the money, either. I miss interacting with patients, consulting with colleagues, and just getting stuff done. Now that I can’t work outside the home, I particularly enjoy the days when I feel well so that I can get things done at home. Cleaning the kitchen or vacuuming the floor makes me feel incredibly accomplished!

People were made to work! God gave Adam and Eve the job of taking care of the Garden of Eden. It was sin that made working difficult and painful.

People want to work. People on disability want to work. It’s only a very tiny percentage of people who are trying to bilk the government out of money by being lazy and watching TV all day. Most of us (disabled or not) like the feeling of satisfaction you get from doing a good day’s worth of work. Some people don’t like the job they have to do to pay the bills, but they have manage to find their work fulfillment in other ways – through hobbies or ministries.

For the last two and a half weeks, I have been trying to run our yarn shop by myself until our new employee (team member, sales associate, ????) could start. Can I just say that tomorrow is not a moment too soon?!!!!! I have a deep sense of fulfillment from the last two weeks of working, but it’s clear why I’m on disability. I managed to keep the shop open all but two days, but there were several days that I was only able to take care of customers. When the headaches didn’t get me, the muscle pain and fatigue did. Yikes! Not only that, running a yarn shop requires much more than just assisting customers. I figured out how to deposit money, but PWM is still managing the books for the most part. My meds make my head a little too fuzzy to trust to do that regularly.

As of tomorrow, I am the Yarn Diva, but I’m not trying to be a full-time yarn store manager, for which I’m most grateful. Last week, I did some training with our new employee, so she can get going with helping customers immediately. The plan is for her to be able to manage pretty much everything in the shop so that if I have a week-long migraine, things can go along merrily without me. Although I would hope that someone might miss me eventually.

Here’s hoping for a good first week for our new team member!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday–9/12/2014

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1. It has been raining for two days around here, so today I went to Fleet Farm and got the light bulbs I needed and have been making sure that we have light bulbs in every light fixture so I can turn every light in the house on in the middle of the day!! I will not be depressed because of darkness!! (Yes, I do take my Vitamin D! Why do you ask?)

2014-09-12 22.37.55

2. So, my body has decided to pull a new trick on me. I am having a recurrent episode of pain and swelling in my right lower leg. The first time it happened, I thought it was superficial thrombophlebitis, which means inflamed blood clot in the superficial veins. Which is painful but not dangerous. But, since my father-in-law died of a pulmonary embolism (blood clot to the lungs which often starts in the deep veins of the legs) and my mother is an ICU nurse, I went to the doctor and had an ultrasound done. Which was negative. That was two weeks ago. The problem came back two days ago and I saw my doctor today who ordered an XRay which was normal so I’m getting an MRI next week sometime. Deep breath. I don’t have a blood clot. Yay.  (BTW, Aren’t the paper shorts they gave me for my leg XRay just adorable???)

2014-09-12 16.13.28

3. Wild Man was telling us last night about working on an American History timeline in American Literature and reading about Europeans giving Native Americans smallpox. I said, “Well, the native Americans probably gave the Europeans syphilis.” PWM said, “Yeah, real fair trade.” Wild Man said, “European and Native Americans never had fair trade!” Then stopped and said, “Boom! See, I do remember my American History!!” Yes, we’ve managed to raise a somewhat educated child.

4. Sophie, Rosie Girl’s cat, is lonely. She always gets a bit lonely when Rosie Girl goes back to school, but this time it’s worse. Not only did Rosie Girl go back to UWSP, but now PWM is teaching, so he’s gone all day every day and Wild Man is in school, so he’s gone all day every day. It’s just me and Sophie, and if it’s busy in the shop or if I have a migraine, poor Sophie is all alone.

5. To try to help Sophie entertain herself, I got her this cool little tube that has crinkly plastic inside which Sophie should love since she keeps trying to eat plastic. So far, her response has been “meh”.

2014-09-12 22.25.45

6. I hired an employee last week! Ack! That feels so . . . . grown-up. Yes, I know I’m 47 and that I’m well past grown-up, but there’s still a part of me that doesn’t believe it. But, with PWM working now, I can’t run the shop on my own, so I hired a wonderful woman who is a great knitter to work 24 hours a week so we won’t have to close when I have a migraine. Not only that, but she has great ideas and seems organized and able to implement them. I’m excited!

7. One of the downsides to sending Wild Man to school is that I don’t get to see him very often. He’s working two jobs, going to school, in band and choir, in a community choir, and a church worship leader. He was finally home for a few hours last night without homework to do, so he agreed to play Yahtzee with me. I lost terribly, but I didn’t care.

What’s going on with you??  Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary to see what others are up to these days!!

What’s Been Going On?

Where have I been for the month? How could I have neglected my poor blog so badly? This time, it has not been migraines! We have had a full-blown turn-our-lives-upside-down couple of weeks!! Let me explain.

As I’ve previously written, we decided to send Wild Man to the local high school this year. We live in a small town of about 2000 people, so the school is also small. About three weeks ago now, the school superintendent came over and met with PWM and asked if he would please come and teach math for at least a semester because their new math teacher for this year had just quit (they have three high school math teachers). PWM had an initial educator’s license about 5 years ago, but his only classroom experience besides his education classes was a long-term sub position. Otherwise, he’s been a math tutor. So, we talked and prayed about it. And PWM said yes. With classes starting the next week.

As of two weeks ago, Wild Man and PWM are up early every morning to go to the high school. PWM is teaching precalculus, AP calculus, 6th grade study skills, and a middle school remedial math program. It’s been a rough three weeks with very little sleep, lots of administrative work, lesson planning, and math review of his own, but it looks like it’s going to work out. PWM is a naturally good teacher and he loves kids of all ages. If he’s going to work full-time at something, this is where it should be. I really think he can make a difference in kids’ lives.

There are some tangible benefits to his teaching, too. He gets paid. Yay! But, he also gets medical, dental, and vision insurance. We’ve had medical insurance, but the dental and vision insurance is new since I quit work. I’m thrilled about that!

There are some other challenges. I can’t take care of the shop on my own. The last three weeks have been just crazy. I’ve only had one day that I had to close because of a migraine, but I’ve had several others in which I just didn’t feel well. And I closed early for a doctor’s appointment. We hired an employee for 24 hours per week, which will keep the shop running when PWM’s not here. Actually, I’m quite optimistic about the woman we hired. She’s a knitter and seems to be a hard worker with great ideas. She starts on Tuesday!!

Wild Man is not thrilled about school, but he is doing pretty well. He is keeping up with his homework, but the homework is what is making school unpleasant for him. He reads and works slowly because of his dyslexia, so he tends to take longer than most other students on his assignments. That being said, he seems to understand and do his work well so far.

Wild Man is also in a singing group in the Fox Valley that is made up of adults but also invites select students from area schools to participate. They had their “retreat” last Sunday and will practice for the next several weeks before their concert.

Of course, Wild Man is working and in band and choir. The one thing I don’t like about his being in school is that he’s gone so much. Last night he was home for a couple of hours after work and before bed, so he agreed to play Yahtzee with me. I lost terribly, but I didn’t care. I was glad to spend time with my son. That’s one of the things I miss about homeschooling.

Things will start calming down soon, I’m sure. PWM is catching up on sleep and lesson planning as well as getting more comfortable in his classroom and with his kids. Wild Man is figuring out the whole school thing. Our new employee starts next week (freeing me up tremendously). We’ll all be able to catch our breaths again. I hope.

So, what’s going on in your world?