Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm allergic to exhaled air: Would you quit breathing?

Sarcasim alert:

the content of this blog post may increase incontinence and raise blood pressure. The exhaled air from your guffaws may penetrate the walls of my home and give me hives higher than Mount Elbert. It also may be offensive to some.

I hate heavy perfume as much as the next person, but this everybody-bow-to-my-allergies/preferences tyranny is a bit much.

So. What happens if I e-mail the organizer of say, the Republican National Convention (I'm not going - drat) and tell them I'm allergic to exhaled air. Can I demand everyone around me quit breathing?

Should event planners choose to ignore my request, I will be isolated, excluded and shunned by my brothers and sisters of conservative principles. How loving is that?

Bring my own face-mask or breathing filter? Are you nuts? That would single me out, making me feel bad. Better make the tens of thousands of delegates, protesters and event staff cater to my individual needs. It's the Christian thing for them to do! And we all know the Republican party is the party of Jesus. (:D - it's a joke!)

Ah, and I'm allergic to ice and chilled food. Being around chilled food or ice, causes my head to itch. When I scratch my scalp, I loose a few strands of hair and my fingernails fall out. It's embarrassing. Please spare me the humiliation by serving room temperature sandwiches on organic corn tortillas made from corn grown in Pennsylvania. (Iowa soil causes my right eye to twitch out of control).

But, please, feel free to have fun. Don't let my individual needs get you down. Pat yourselves on the back for being inclusive. I'll never forget the kindness and sacrifices made for my convenience. Who knows, the potential vice-presidential candidate may be allergic to carpet fibers too. (Note to self: Have convention venue pull up all carpeting and sanitize concrete flooring two weeks prior to my arrival.)

Serious note so you don't think I'm a nasty person.

My mother suffers from life-threatening asthma and other allergies (perfumes, molds etc). I understand the serious nature of allergies. However, what makes me angry is when people go into the "ban everything" mode, stripping the rest of the world from personal freedoms.

Peanut butter has been in the news for years. Most schools don't allow it at all. They used to have "peanut free sections" where allergic kids can eat, but that singled those few kids out. Rather than encouraging a tuna eating kid to sit with the can't-eat-peanuts kid, all kids have to check their Recees at the schoolhouse door. Peanut butter is the only protein some kids will eat. Now they need to eliminate a necessary element of nutrition for the sake of one?

Consideration for special needs such as allergies is given graciously when requested graciously. Not demanded. Not communicated through over-the-top bans.

Respect works both ways. If you see someone sitting in a corner b/c someone is wearing some foul-smelling, eye-stinging stink spray, go sit with them! I'm sure people NOT allergic to perfumes won't tolerate the smell and try to escape. Don't make a big "stink" about it.

It's not fair to demand 12,499 people out of 12,500 completely change their lifestyle. Resentment is inevitable.

In a world where our freedoms are evaporating faster than rubbing alcohol on a hot stove, it's hard not to be rankled by insistence on giving up rights for the sake of one or two.

If you like to stink, do it in your own space. If you are weirded out by bras - go stand with a bunch of men. Be considerate. Be reasonable.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Daniel update

Since so many of you are asking, and literally hundreds of people prayed. Thank you so much!

Here's the comment from my sister.

Hi Sis, we really appreciate everyone's prayers. We truly felt God's care in this whole situation. Thankfully Daniel's fever is under control and his seizure was harmless despite how it looked. He is a little traumatized by it all (as am I!)but he was very brave when it mattered most and should bounce back quickly. Thank you for this posting!

Please scroll down a little to read my "Learning to apply" post. I'm in the process of collecting Bible verses to combat my destructive habit of worrying about finances!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Urgent! Pray for Daniel!

Please pray for my 1 year old nephew, Daniel.

While my mom was on the phone with my sister, Daniel started having a seizure, a very bad one.

He has been running a fever for a few days.

He's in the ambulance on the way to a nearby hospital in Philly.

Learning to apply

What good is a newly acquired skill if we're never given the chance to apply it?

When I teach foundational skills to the girls in my colorguard, I write those same skills into the show they will perform in competition. We practice what we compete, we compete what we practice.

Common sense, eh?

Then why am I so bugged when God does the same thing to me? He reveals new knowledge, insight, then immediately introduces (or reintroduces) circumstances in my life forcing me to choose: freak out or apply my new skill.

A few days ago I blogged about new insights on idolatry. I'm not as immune as I thought. The whole idea of proportion in my thought life snapped my brain to attention.

This morning we found out some devestating financial news. We decided a few months ago to seek help from one of those get-you-out-of-credit-card-debt negotiators. The negotiators told us our credit rating may take a ding.

To avoid making you suffer through the ugly details, let me just say the credit companies retaliate on many levels when they get wind of you trying to negotiate debt.

I teetered around my living room like a wind-up-toy with a stretched out spring for roughly two hours. "I'm not gonna freak. I'm not gonna panic. I'm not gonna melt -- Kyle! Get off the table! I'm not gonna freak. I'm not gonna-- Kyle, don't drink from the animals' water. Ew."

Panic swelled inside my chest. My heart flopped around like a bucket full of live trout. Tears stabbed at my eyes. I couldn't call anyone. People have had enough of me and my family being in a perpetual state of crisis.

There it sat. On my desk. Beth Moore's Breaking Free. The idolatry lesson hit me like a rouge wave. My mind was obsessing on the certain doom and destruction of my family. Um, I couldn't find any thoughts of God. What's my idol of the moment?

Pushing Kyle out the door to play in the sandbox, I plopped myself at the patio table and opened the book and my Bible with shaking hands. I blazed through two lessons. One on deprogramming and reprogramming (thoughts). The other on taking thoughts captive to Christ.


First off I read, "Satan does not have the power or authority to lock believers in a prison of oppression. He works overtime to talk us into staying because he lacks the power to keep us there."

Before you go all OprahTolle on me saying this statement supports the whole "our thoughts create our destiny" belief system, realize Tolle touts humans as being gods. Beth and the Bible talk about our willful choice to either give into one of two opposing powers. God or Satan. One is the victor, the other defeated.

I hate losing. I've spent many years competing on winning teams and coaching winning teams. Why have I been CHOOSING to place my deepest thoughts and fears into the hands of the losing team?

Maybe because in my thought life I've become so accustomed to defeatism it's a reflex reaction.

Financial "bad luck" has plagued us since 2001. Things only get worse no matter how much we cry out to God, have others cry out on our behalf or just get mad.

"Fix it!" is the sum of all prayers.

"God will not release us from anything that has enslaved us until we've come to the mind of Christ in the matter." (wk 9, lesson 5)

I guess there won't be a Wells-Fargo truck full of C notes exploding in my front yard, or a million dollar book contract. Beth in the most non-sacchrine way tell us things won't change until our minds change.

Not, "I will be a millionaire" a million times a day, but by taking a close look at the thoughts making me freakadellic. Are they true? No. If not true, it must be a lie.

Catching my brain in the act of bubbling falsehoods and doomsday prophecies is part of the renewal process. Seeking scripture about God's loving provision and freedom from fear will demolish those lies over time. I also need to be honest with my savior and say, "Hey, I'm spazing out here. I'm thinking we're gonna be on the street in a refigerator box by next Wednesday!"

The mind of Christ. Not oneness with myself. I need to seek out His perspective and adopt it as my own. Otherwise, financial stress will remain my idol. Solutions to the debt and lack of cash flow won't go away until my mind transformes. But then there's no guarantee things will miraculously get better, however, spiritually and psychologically I'll be better able to face it.

Help me out here and shoot me some of your fave Bible verses about God providing and being our anchor. I need to create cards to carry around with me so I can pull them out the moment I feel that pin-cushiony pain of panic popping up.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I learned something today

If you don't already know this, Bible study writer, Beth Moore has to be one of the most anointed human beings alive. Page after page she confronts readers with truths most of us would rather pretend unreal.

A few minutes ago I finished a lesson from Breaking Free that I started over a week ago.

The topic?

Idolatry and the failure to destroy the "high places".

As a post-modern American, I've struggled with understanding this ancient sin. I can't recall seeing any alters built to worship some weird shaped piece of wood. That kind of stuff is only seen in primitive societies filmed by the National Geographic channel.

Then, idolatry was explained as "something I value more than God." Rich people owned by their money and expensive toys were the cliche example. Can't relate there! I'm barely middle-class American.

Sex, drugs and rock 'n roll weren't a problem for me either. So that means...


Beth Moore says in Week 9, Lesson 3 that anything that steals our focus becomes an idol. She goes on to say, "...the object of our imaginations itself is not always sin. The sin may lie solely in the exaltation of it in our own minds."

Now here's where it starts getting personal. "The enemy will capitalize on normal emotions of love or loss to swell them out of healthy proportion. They can consume our lives if we're not aware of his schemes."

So, when I obsess for DAYS over a missed note during a vocal performance or even a rejection from an editor, I'm engaging in the sin of idolatry. Eeek.

None of this means I can laugh off my errors. It's okay to recognize them; learn from them and adjust my performance. Sin happens when I put more effort and thought into thoughts of; "You Big Dummy - how could you? You had that song down cold! What made you think you could pull this off in public?" than I put thoughts into reaching into Scripture and bathing myself in the Truth of how God views me.

"Virtually anything that cheats you of what God has for you could be considered sin."

Um. Uh... well... um, (I'm pulling a Barak Obama here) does that mean when I succumb to "I don't feel like writing today", I'm sinning?

When I know with absolute certainty God called me to do something (write, take care of my knee, spend extra time with Kyle or John) and I choose to do otherwise, I'm elevating my own wants over God's. Idolatry.

"We easily view adultry, robbery, or murder as sin, but we often don't realize that sin can also be anything we allow to grow between us and the glorious completing work of God."

Procrastination, excuses - these all rack up as sin. Christian writers beware. Satan doesn't want our stories published. He doesn't even want them finished. He also doesn't have to work too hard to trip us up either. We can do that well enough on our own.

On the other hand, we can obsess about getting everything Just Right. We've all heard editors and agents rail on and on about how competitive the market is. Only the best of the best of the bestest will be considered.

Perfect plots, opening lines, grammatically pure prose - continuous thoughts of these things not taken captive to Christ can push out God. It's a matter of imbalance. Our time needs to be dominated by maintaining an open communication with God.

Beth doesn't let us out of that one with a pile of excuses about how busy we are. She suggests we maintain that Christ-centered consciousness by steeping ourselves in worship music as we rocket through our day. Make spending time in God's Word a priority (a hard one for me). Being able to strike up a conversation with Him in the middle of heavy traffic.

When that "stuff" exceeds the other "stuff" of our lives, we are avoiding idolatry through the power of our Great God.

Dang. This is gonna be tough.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Much to lose

I almost made a decision that would've permanently altered my life in a bad way.

Thinking back to what I almost did, causes heaves in my stomach and prickles under the surface of my skin. I had no idea I had so much to lose.

I kneed to tell you this story because it's a cattle-prodding reminder of our need for God's wisdom and an openness to hear wisdom from an unexpected source.

Sunday, I attended a new Sunday school class. It's a class made up of a kalidiscope of women yearning for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. At the end, the leader of the class asked if anyone had prayer requests. Before I arrived at church, I planned to keep my mouth shut and ease myself back into the church community as a fly on the wall. Anonymity was my goal.

Several requests were shared. The leader looked around the room asking if anyone else needed prayer. My mouth opened and I asked for much kneeded prayer.

"Um, I had surgery two months ago on my knee and I'm not able to get the swelling and pain under control. Physical therapy is too expensive and probably won't do me any good. Swimming seemed to help when I was in PA, so I guess I'm asking for you to pray I can get access to a pool. I also need wisdom on how to figure out my knee issues on my own."

After prayer, class broke up so the next group could use the room. A woman approaches me.

"Wow. It's funny you asked about access to a pool. My daughter broke her leg two months ago and is learning to walk, so we have access to a community pool along with some free passes. Call me tomorrow and we'll start you swimming. I'd love to play with Kyle while you swim and my daughter water-walks."

Deb proceeds to tell me that her husband is my husbands primary care doc at Kaiser. She asked me who my PT was and why I wanted to be my own therapist. Did I have a degree in physical therapy?

Before going our separate ways to join our families for the 10:40 service, she made me promise to call my PT. (Her daughter has the same PT who happens to be the department head and one of the best in Kaiser.) One visit was all Deb made me promise. And she was going to hold me to it.

It's important to know that on average, it takes two weeks to get an appointment in the PT department. I called Monday morning, and was sitting on the PT table at 8AM Tuesday morning.

The PT listened to my frustrations with pain, swelling and a lack of progress. She took measurements of my knee's ability to flex and extend. My extension was 8 degrees short of my good knee.

"It's good you came in because you are nine weeks out of surgery, and if you don't regain full range of motion by twelve weeks, your knee will be permanently bent which will cause you a lot of pain, and will injure the muscles connected to the knee. You have three weeks to gain 8 degrees and it won't be easy. Also, your kneecap doesn't move. We need to get it in motion ASAP before any more scar tissue builds up."

She told me the consequences of failing to follow through with therapy will make hiking, biking and the other physical activities I love, almost impossible to do. I'd also live with increasing pain and injury to the joint. I had a lot to loose.

I had no clue.

I assumed I could do the knee thing on my own to save a few bucks (and avoid doing painful things I knew the PT would prescribe).

God immediately provided both the wisdom I kneeded, and the resource (pool) to follow through. My PT gave me a huge list of exercises which does take up most of my day. Rehabbing my knee is my full-time job right now. I see her again in a few weeks.

Thinking about how close I came to incapacitating myself over $30 is humbling.

I'm so glad I have a Father in Heaven who not only saves me from my sin, but saves me from my self!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Clippy de Pickies

Yes. I do clip my cats' toenails!

Esau doesn't mind. He sits on my lap like a burlap sack of potatoes as I squeeze his paw to extend a claw - then CLIP!

Knowing I didn't want to declaw, I started picky clipping when the cats were kittens. Esau was six weeks old when the clippers chomped on his toenails for the first time.

Chloe was 6 months old when we adopted her. She protested loudly (still does) but doesn't fight me over it. Chloe yowels and yammers if you look at her wrong.

The Blob. The Blob. Her previous owner had her declawed in the front, but I clip her back claws every now and then. She was more than a year old when I started. It's not her favorite thing (anything outside of eating isn't her favorite thing), but she lets me do it.

None of the cats will allow anyone else to get anyone to point sharp objects in their direction. John glances at Chloe and she rockets into hiding! Esau flattens himself onto the floor wishing himself invisible and the Blob tries to squeeze under a piece of furniture, but only her head fits.

If you want to know why - check out this old post of flying cats.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Feeling a little lost

Picking up where I left off one month ago is proving to be harder than I imagined.

Do you think I can remember where I put the picky-clippers (for cat toenails) before I left for PA?

When I got home and crawled into bed, Esau and Chloe decided to perform a cat scan confirming I was me. The cat scan lasted all night long in spite of my skill at sending cats into orbit with my eyes closed.

I looked like I was attacked by a phlebotomist on speed - poke holes on all exposed skin.

Why don't I close the door, you wonder?

Imagine howling bowling balls battering your hollow-core door. Yeah.

Aside from furry felines, figuring out where I'm supposed to be when, and with who is testing what little sanity I have. Oh, and remembering who's going out with whom in the marching band? Forgedaboutit.

Pennsylvania and Colorado may as well be on different planets. My mind?

In a whole other galaxy.