Monthly Archives: June 2013

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

“Sock it to me,” from Aretha Franklin’s classic rendition of R-E-S-P-E-C-T has new meaning for me as it will now be permanently linked with – laundry.

I love church youth groups! I especially love church youth groups that aim to grow character and teach responsibility. Matthew had an opportunity to earn a Pathfinder honor recently and it was in – laundering. To receive this honor, he had to be responsible for the entire family’s laundry for one full week. Sorting, washing, drying, folding. The whole works! Thankfully, he chose a week where I was very busy with VBS, so it was most helpful to have him in charge of the mountain of clothes.

“I have so much more respect for you now mommy.” Thank you. I’m hoping he remembers that aura of respect the next time he eyes his neatly folded stack of laundry that mom did for him. If not, he may be forced to slave over folding and mating the socks forever. No R-E-S-P-E-C-T, then you will be stuck on sock duty. Sock it to you! Matthew admitted folding was what he hated the most. He says he will help more with laundry in the future, but first he wants to not have to see it for a while. Can’t blame the poor kid.

So now I’m a firm believer in every church having a Pathfinder youth group that encourages kids to get their laundering honor. Love it!

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The Two Reasons

Squash bugs have decided to invade my little garden box of squash. Yuck.

I have given the 11-year-old the task of using his pocket knife to destroy these pests that will rob us of our produce. He looked at me stunned, his eyes revealing his thoughts of “I can’t do that.” So I looked him in the eye and told him the two reasons.

There are only two reasons why a man ever kills. It is to protect his family or to provide for his family. He got it. He understood that getting rid of the bugs protected our garden that was to provide food for the family.

It is somewhat ironic that we had this conversation this morning. You see, Matthew has been declaring his childhood is over in various ways. He no longer picks up children’s offering at church, instead he brings his own money to pass out to all the “little kids.” And so it has gone for the past few weeks. In his rush to leave the innocence of childhood, he has stumbled upon the harsh reality of adult responsibilities. Perhaps indeed this summer will be the boy’s “coming of age.”

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Filed under Community, Family, Parenting

Superstar

Vacation Bible School is always so much work, but full of so much fun and blessings! We’ve been planning for this week’s VBS for months. My job is helping with the motions to the songs and a couple of weeks ago, someone asked me how it was going. My response? Greta is my superstar and she’s doing great. The same person asked the lady in charge of the up front program the same question and her response was: Sharon and Greta are my superstars.

Last night after our first opening session of VBS, one of the volunteers remarked that Greta was doing great in leading the motions to the songs, it is her gift. The truth is, Greta loves motions to songs so much that if a song doesn’t have motions, she’ll make up her own!

Our little part of VBS is going great because we are recognizing something: Spiritual Gifts. What God has gifted someone with, let them do that! Everyone is blessed when people use their gifts for God’s honor and glory. Yes, even a little girl can use her talents, given by God, to help others.

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Filed under Spiritual Disciplines, Spirituality

Signature

I will freely admit that my ongoing battle with Crohn’s Disease is wearing on me, but something amazing happened today. I woke up with a song in my mind. “How can I keep from singing Your praise!” A great song by Chris Tomlin.

I settled in for my morning worship time and read part of Psalm 119 an identified with David as he cried out to God to deliver him from the evil that surrounded him. I prayed again that God would be in charge of my battle with Crohn’s and that He would give me peace.

As I often do, I put on some uplifting music while I started on waffles and home made strawberry sauce for breakfast. Karl came out to the kitchen and wondered why I was playing an old CD. Evidently the box that arrived yesterday was the new CD by Steve Green that he ordered for me, but I had mistaken it for something else. He opened it up and got it going in my CD player. One of the songs? “How can I keep from singing Your praise.” It gets even better. The lyrics were meant for me.

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives

And I will walk with You
Knowing You’ll see me through
And sing the songs You give

 

This was no coincidence. This was God’s signature on my day, giving me peace in this battle – a peace that only God can give.

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Filed under Crohn's Disease, Music, Spirituality

Even Keel

I’m running out of options and the few remaining aren’t that promising. My primary care physician and I agree on that. He’s great about realizing I’m not your average patient that you can just pump with drugs and so he searches for more natural remedies for me. I’m a bit of a medical freak and I know it.

Today he asked me how my stress levels were. Ha! Yes, it is true that reducing stress in a patient with Crohn’s Disease can be very beneficial to their guts. I’ll admit it – stress goes straight to my gut and I can literally feel it. My husband keeps an eye out for me and has even called me on some stressful situations and said it would be better for me to back out or avoid those situations. I’m so grateful for his support, but sometimes, stress just happens.

I’m a pastor’s wife with three kids, one of which has an autoimmune disease that keeps us going back to specialists every 6 months for MRI’s and other testing. Nope, no stress here. Did I mention that my husband actually pastors two sister churches and that they are each doing a Vacation Bible School this year – different programs of course – and I’m learning parts for both of them? My oldest is working at camp for the summer and I miss him very much, but I hey he is a senior now and it’s time for this mom to get in on all of the senior class fundraising things – don’t wait for school to start. Time is money!!

I suppose that for me, some of those stresses are worth it. I’d be a fool to think I could truly remove all stressors out of my life and remain forever on an even keel. By removing stressors, I’d also be removing amazing parts of my life. This disease has already taken enough from me. I won’t let it take my life.

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Filed under Crohn's Disease, Health & Wellness

Cookies and Juice

We agreed to conduct one of our marriage seminars this past weekend, even though it was our anniversary. It was the only weekend the church had available. We stayed in the home of the associate pastor and his family and did our presentations. After the first night, we returned to our room to find a special treat in our room – and one of the pastor’s little boys anxiously awaiting to see if we liked it or not.

It was a simple homemade card that said happy anniversary and a plate of lemon cookies along with two glasses of delicious apple juice. Did I mention that lemon cookies are one of my all time favorites? After the seminar, we pass out evaluations for couples to write down what they learned and how much they enjoyed the presentations. One couple wrote down that they have hope and see a light at the end of the tunnel.

It wasn’t our first choice to do a seminar on our anniversary weekend, but a plate of lemon cookies and a child’s happy face as well as a couple’s renewed hope in their marriage certainly make it worth it!!

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Filed under Community, Marriage

Flag Day

Tomorrow, June 14th, is Flag Day. I really didn’t pay too much attention to this date, shame on me, until I decided to use that date 22 years ago to get married. Now I can’t forget Flag Day.

So along with proudly displaying flags in our yard, we also celebrate this amazing journey called marriage that God has blessed us with. There have been days that the Marriage Flag looked as if it would be blown right off of the pole, because of wind storms that had come, but it still flies. Some days there wasn’t even a little breeze, so you couldn’t see the full display of the flag, but you saw enough to know it was there. But most days, the flag flies proudly to say, marriage rocks!

Thanks Karl for 22 awesome years and looking forward to so many more of proudly waving the banner for an Unashamed Marriage.

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In a Mood

It’s never fun to get kicked out of the club. I got kicked out this week.

In order to stay on the study for Crohn’s Disease, I had to have a significant change in my numbers since the last injection of medication. I didn’t get it. Even though there was a 40 point change, it requires a change of 100 points or more to stay in the study. So I’m out of the club.

I was expecting it, because I’d been keeping my pain level journal and I knew the numbers wouldn’t add up right. Being dropped off the study wasn’t nearly as discouraging as the limited amount of options remaining for me in dealing with this beastly disease. So I allowed a mood of discouragement and just plain, “I don’t care” to take over for a couple of days. But I discovered something: it’s not fun to live like that.

I’ve had a couple of days of getting myself back together slowly and now it’s back to the drawing board. God has gotten me through so many bad times of Crohn’s and He will get me through this one as well.

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Filed under Crohn's Disease

Curves

Men love curves. Want proof? Just give a man an agile sports car and a curvy mountain road and it will look like one of those Geico commercials.

So the nicest thing my husband texted to me today: Your smile is the sexiest curve on your body.

I think God knew what He was doing when He created and blessed marriage.

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Camp

I’ve decided that you don’t have to have one of those “near death experiences” to see your life flash before your eyes. All you have to do is see your oldest child do some of the same things you did.

We are sending Michael to work at a Christian youth camp this summer. We are entrusting the directors of Camp Yorktown Bay in Arkansas to put him to work and keep him safe. I feel for them on one point. They have to feed Michael.

There are a myriad of emotions and thoughts going through my mind as I deal with the reality of my son experiencing similar things that I did. That’s a little scary as I look now at how I should have handled situations I found myself in better than I did, when I worked at camp. The ripping my heart out as he leaves the nest has begun.

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Filed under Family, Parenting

The Crock Pot

What’s for lunch? Ask Michael, he’s in charge of it today. For these words, I got two looks of surprise! How fun to be a mom of creativity.

Michael was stunned into practically pleading for me to take care of lunch, which I of course did. Afterward, however, I asked him what he was going to do in the future. After all, he had plans for grad school and then work as an engineer – no thoughts of getting married. After a small amount of discussion, Michael revealed his plot to buy family size frozen mac and cheese that has to bake in the oven. He plans to eat on the leftovers for at least a couple of days. Lasagna also appeared on the horizon in this manner. Enough homage to Italy though, so I told him at least he knew how to open a can of beans and season it some so he could make burritos for himself.

That was a definite no. Michael said he would never open a can of beans. He will buy a crock pot and cook my famous beans from scratch. He will not eat canned beans. Wow. Pasta can be frozen, but he’ll buy a crock pot and cook the beans. You know you’ve done something right when a young man destined for life as a bachelor eating frozen dinners says there is one tool he needs in order to cook mom’s famous beans. At least I know what to get him for graduation now.

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Filed under Healthy Lifestyle, Parenting