Monthly Archives: August 2013

Short Circuit

Like it or not, once you start messing around with all that amazing stuff inside of your skull, you are going to have some consequences. With our daughter, we are glad the lesions in her brain are no longer growing, that it is the one time ADEM episode, but the fact of the matter is there are still after effects of the lesions in her brain.

Greta is one of the many sufferers of a disease or disorder that no one can easily see on the outside. There are many issues, some chronic, some acute, but all leave a person feeling isolated to some extent. They look “normal” to most, but those who know them best know the more of their daily struggles.

Most kids that suffer from brain injuries/lesions, try so hard to hold it together at school. They let it all out at home, full force. Lucky us. At least Greta gets to experience a mostly normal day at school with friends. At home, however, when her will and our wills clash – it can be a nasty battle. The last one left Karl and I on the wounded list for hours. Greta recovered in a matter of minutes – cheerful as ever.

After debriefing over the latest explosion of anger and emotions from our daughter, we discovered something. She has a short circuit. Perseveration – latching on to something and not letting go – is one of her issues. If you try to change Greta’s mind on something she is latched on to – let the battle begin! What we learned is we try to go to step 1 of reasoning out a solution agreeable to all. Greta immediately launches a nuclear strike and takes no prisoners. She no longer has the ability to follow reasonable conflict resolution patterns in areas where she is experiencing perseveration.

Our task now: figure out how to help Greta develop a new circuit so the battle doesn’t start off immediately with a missile crisis – will she or won’t she? On this journey of ADEM effects, we learn more and more about the amazing brain and how our bodies cope. My prayer is that we learn enough to make a difference in Greta’s post ADEM life and the lives of others that suffer due to brain injuries and illnesses.

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Filed under ADEM, Family, Health & Wellness, Parenting

Positivity

My little wilderness man really enjoyed this season of “Get Out Alive” with Bear Grylls. Yes, it was still television, but he loved learning about the respect for the wild and survival. At the end of each challenge when all the teams would gather together to find out which one Bear would choose to go home – Bear often spoke about positivity. Basically I got from it that if you have a nasty attitude while you are trying to survive in the wild, it would be like having one arm tied behind your back and asked to row across a lake.

Positivity came up again yesterday, as I checked my mother in for her a preventive procedure. The lady at the desk checking her in had a sign about always being blessed. I started a conversation with her and we all enjoyed our time together. Everyone should have that much fun checking in for something as painful as a mammogram!

This woman shared her experience of just that morning, feeling down on herself and her mind filling with all kinds of things that were horrible about herself. Out of nowhere, a woman walked up to her and said nice things about her and basically put all the bad thoughts to shame. Our new friend felt joy at the negativity being sent packing and the positivity filling its place. That experience would carry her through the day.

It is so easy to listen to the negative. It is so easy to sink into pity parties and loathing ourselves. It’s true that we may not be perfect, but God didn’t wait for us to be perfect before He died for our sins, so maybe we need to keep listening to what God has to say about us. His words are positive, full of love and compassion. Yes, there is correction and guidance, but it is always spoken with great love for us. If positivity can help you survive in the wild then positivity can help us survive in the wildness we face every day just by getting up in the morning. With God’s help, I aim to be more positive!

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Filed under Community, Spirituality

Time Out Gets a Bad Rap

I am here to speak up for that often misunderstood gift of Time Out. Someone in the marketing department should have gotten fired for promoting this solely for disciplinary purposes in school. It’s about time we saw the other side of Time Out. Please bear in mind, this is coming from a woman juggling too many things and about to drop them all. Time Out is the only place you can set them all down and not get in trouble for it.

How Time Out should really be marketed: Are you running at capacity? Are your shoulders no longer broad enough for the burdens you are carrying? Did one more thing just get dumped in your lap? You, yes even you, can leave it all behind during Time Out. This special place leaves all the external stimuli behind so you can just be alone and get your thoughts together once again. Some of the world’s greatest leaders highly recommend Time Out. Read this excerpt from that Nazarene Radical – Jesus, “Come apart and rest awhile.” Call now and we’ll even throw in a special Time Out box, with great pictures inside of remote places of serene beauty to help you get the most out of your Time Out experience.

With truth in advertising – this is the way Time Out should be promoted and right now, this busy pastor’s wife, mother of three and very poor juggler is in line to be one of the first to get my very own Time Out!

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Filed under Community, Healthy Lifestyle

Scramble Leadership

My oldest son goes to a small Christian school, where he is a senior this year. The first Saturday night of each school year, there is a Junk Scramble. The four corners of the gym are stations for the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors respectively. There they set up camp, students bringing whatever they could find and whatever they think might be called for.

More than just the fun of seeing which class can be the first to bring “something reptile” to the center of the gym to the scrutiny of the awaiting judges, is the awareness of the classes getting to know each other better. In Michael’s class, I saw several times where seniors had the chance to do a little more preparation, and some of them just played basketball. In fact, it was quite obvious since each class wears a different color that night, that only seniors were messing around while all of the other classes were busy at their stations, organizing their junk and trying to be ready to quickly grab and run once the game began.

Michael reminded us that the junk scramble comes just before the election of class officers. I mentioned what I had seen and gave him some advice. Those seniors that were goofing off and messing around, don’t elect them to leadership positions. They didn’t show they were there to help and prepare. They didn’t take it seriously.a

I think the school is very wise to give the students such a fun and “ice breaker” type of activity at the beginning of the year to give students a chance to see what kind of personalities are in their classmates and who can they really count on. Perhaps more businesses and institutions should have junk scrambles for adults. Does a supervisor need to know who is up for a promotion? A junk scramble just might reveal who is working and who is not taking things seriously.

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Filed under Community, Parenting

The Sixth Son

I’m reading one passage/chapter from the Bible each morning. I went through the Psalms. I must admit, I took Psalm 119 by sections. Next I went to Philippians. It was only 4 chapters long, so what next? I finally landed in the book of Nehemiah. I specifically remember passing by Chronicles and Numbers. I really didn’t feel like reading long genealogies. Ha! God had something wonderful for me today in Nehemiah chapter 3.

Nehemiah isn’t a super long book, so I thought I can handle this one chapter that names everybody who helped rebuild the wall of Jerusalem that had been broken down and burned. I’m starting to drift into that when will this boring list be over phase when I discovered, it wasn’t that boring after all. I noticed something. Everyone was included. People who lived in Jerusalem and those that lived in Jericho. People who were just your average citizens and folks that were priests and even the Nethinim. Two verses especially stood out. One man is listed as taking a section – and his daughters! My favorite verse: the sixth son of a certain man took a section of the wall and rebuilt it.

Have you ever felt like the sixth son? Back in medieval times, the first son was the heir, the 2nd wend to the military and the 3rd went to the church. You might find something for a 4th or 5th son to do, but to be the 6th son? Yet this man, the 6th son, is specifically mentioned as doing his part in rebuilding the wall. He is included.

I think that’s one of the many things I love about God’s way of presenting things. His grace, His mantra of “I have room for everyone” is found in so many places and so many different ways in the Bible. The Nethinim, a group of people set to always serve in the temple in menial tasks;  a man who had a handful of daughters and the sixth son. There really is a place for everyone in God’s kingdom.

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Why Connect?

Why connect? It is actually a two phase question. Why should we connect? And if you are already in the habit of connecting with people – why? What is your motivation?

Dr. John Townsend talks about folks that connect with an “unlikely” person, just so they can mold them into something better and really enjoy them when they have finally left caterpillar stage behind and embraced butterfly. The problem is, most folks want to be connected with for who and what they are right now. If changes happen in their life, so be it, but right now they need to know you accept them as they are.

Think of it as in incoming college freshman. Every dean on the university campus sees bright minds that they can’t wait to have as distinguished graduates of their program. But the professor that accepts you for who you are now and makes one of those amazing connections that help a student feel safe to share their hopes and dreams and why they came to college in the first place – that is a true connection for the right reason.

Parents – we especially have to make connections with our kids right now – yes, even when they’ve gotten sent home from school or really messed up your kitchen floor. We need to connect with people in our lives right now, right where they are. If our only reason to reach out is to change someone to where we will really like them later on; the truth is that we will have a shallow connection now and a shallow connection later.

Take the time to make connections, real ones and really enjoy them. There may be someone in your neighborhood today that just needs to know someone cares, right now, at this phase of their life.

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Vanilla Spice!

My husband and I administer a Facebook page, Unashamed Marriage. One of my husband’s latest finds that he shared on the page is about scent and sexuality. Evidently part of Cleopatra’s appeal to get two world leaders in her arms was her arsenal of aromas.

In my experience with the wonderful company, Discovery Toys, I learned about the power of scent even for children’s playthings. Vanilla is actually the scent that most closely resembles mother’s milk. So DT found a way to produce a soothing, textured ball with a light vanilla scent. The answer is yes, it was a hit among babies. It was comforting and reminded them of being at mother’s breast.

Getting any ideas here? There are many perfumes that feature the vanilla scent, in a variety of packages, formulas, and prices. Husbands, bring home some vanilla scented perfume for your lovely wife. Ladies, wear the perfume and drive your husbands crazy! If vanilla just isn’t your thing, take the time to learn what scents you enjoy.

God didn’t limit flowers to just a few scents. Neither are pleasant aromas limited to coming only from flowers. There is quite a lot of variety out there. Enjoy exploring all the things designed for our pleasure.

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Filed under Marriage