Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A shout out to my guy

So, if you've been reading my blog, or know me at all, you know I had surgery six weeks ago. Well, you may not have been counting the days, but I was. My actual "six-week mark" was yesterday. The reason this day was important is because they told me my recovery would take six weeks. I have to say that one week ago I seriously questioned the six week theory. I thought, "do you suppose it could be that next Tuesday I'm going to wake up and POOF, be all better?" I didn't see that this was even a possibility. But, the odd thing is, that I really am feeling close to 100%. At least as close as I was before surgery - actually closer.

So, with all of that said, I want to give a shout out to my husband. He has been fabulous through this whole ordeal. He's done the bulk of the grocery shopping - which is very challenging and distasteful to him. It's distasteful to me, too, but not as challenging because first of all, I know what I want and secondly, I have a better idea of where it is in the store. He's also done most of the other chores that I normally do, and done it without complaining. In addition to all of that he's cheered me up when I've been discouraged and cheered me on every time I got on the treadmill to increase my stamina. He even put up with some occasional, very, very occasional, crabbiness. :-) At one point, just a week or so into my recovery, I looked at him and said, "So, is this what you had in mind when you said, 'in sickness and in health 32 years ago?'"

I know that some of you reading this are of the belief that every husband should and would do what mine has done under the same circumstances. Let me tell you that yes they should, but in ministering to other women, I have learned that sometimes they don't. And, even if they all did, it never hurts to praise them for their efforts. So, if you see my husband, tell him "way to go." While he can grocery shop, clean and do the dishes, he still hasn't mastered the computer and therefore, doesn't read my blog.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Handling Defining Moments

Last week Lindsay Willlis, was the speaker at our church's monthly women's worship service, Chick Night. Since I last blogged about why God allows pain, I wanted to share with you some of the thoughts that Lindsay shared at Chick Night. She called moments of pain, and moments of joy in our life "defining moments." As Lindsay described them she talked about the joyful moments as times when you say "WOW! God!" Then, she described the challenging moments as times when you say, "wow, God." O.K., the words are the same, but when she said them you could definitely tell a difference by the tone of her voice. I choose to call the latter the "why, God?" moments, because even though I know that God is in control I sometimes wonder if He dozed off while my crisis was in process.

So, here are the four points Lindsay said we need to consider when handling defining moments in our lives.

1. Be emotional but don't make emotional decisions.

2. Choose the way of Love!

3. Forgive - unforgiveness puts us in a prison.

4. Trust God.

Lindsay also pointed out that when our defining moments are caused by someone hurting us that we are biblically required to love that person, and forgive that person, but the ONLY one we are ever required to trust is God. People need to earn our trust.

I loved what she had to say. We all have defining moments and how they effect us is determined by how we allow them to effect us. If you'd like to listen to Lindsay's talk, follow this link. You won't be sorry - it was excellent!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Why does God allow pain?

Tonight I watched "Love Comes Softly," a Hallmark movie about a man and woman who get married because of their mutual need. The woman needs a husband to take care of her, (remember this movie is scripted in the wagon train days) and the man needs a mother for his daughter.

The husband is a Christian, and the woman, Marty, just isn't sure about this God he worships. At one point in the movie, the barn burns down, which not only threatens the livestock, but also takes many of Marty's possesions. Marty, asks her husband what he's going to do and he says he's going to pray and wait for God to give him direction. Marty blows up and asks him the ever present question, "Why do you pray to a God that allows this to happen? A God who allows my husband to die and your daughter to never know her real mother?" The question of "why, God?" or "how can you believe in a God who.....?" has, I'm sure, gone through the mind of most everyone who has ever considered the human condition.

What I love in this movie is the husband's response. He grabs his wife's hand and takes her up to the mountain top. He tells her (and I'm paraphrasing here) that he could be right by the side of his daughter and that wouldn't stop her from falling down. But, he would always pick her up and carry her to safety, he would always cry with her when she is in pain, and he would rejoice with her when she is healed. "The miracle of God", he says, "is not that God doesn't stop bad things from happening, but that He walks with us when they do." I love that explanation.

We all walk through bad times. The question that I heard my friend, Lindsay Willis, pose the other day is this, "during the bad times are we going to walk towards God, or are we going to walk away from Him?" Experience has taught me that it's always better to walk towards Him. I love that He carries me when I am weak, holds me when I'm scared and cries with me when I hurt. And the crazy thing is, when I get through the pain, I am always stronger and closer to God.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Last night I was wandering through the grocery store, making my way around the numerous floral displays brought in for Valentine's day. Apparently, most of the men in Cannon Falls pick up their flowers from Econo Foods, because there were enough bouquets there for almost every man in town.

But, it wasn't the flowers that caused the flashback. It was the boxes of kid's Valentine's cards. You know the kind. They come in a box of 30 so you have enough for every kid in the class. Oh, the time I spent in front of those boxed cards, with one boy or another. My boys didn't seem to understand the importance of picking out the right box of cards. It was important to me that the words be right - on every card (there is always a variety) - and that the pictures not be from some cartoon that I didn't even allow my kids to watch. My boys didn't really care - they just wanted to pick up a box and get out of there to get this project out of the way. Their enthusiasm for Valentine's Day seemed to decrease as their age increased. A few times I talked them into making bookmark valentines. Something simple, yet practical, that would last longer than the Bert and Ernie Valentine card. I don't know if anyone ever actually used them, but they were just as cheap as the cards we were buying at the store. I'm sure it made some memories with my boys - they just don't remember them yet.

It was fun walking past those Valentine's cards last night. It brought back some great memories AND made me glad that I didn't have to choose which cards to buy this year. That is a joy reserved for the young, and maybe Grandparents, but I don't know that yet.

My Valentine's wish for you is very simple. Happy Valentine's Day! May you know today how very much you are loved by God and me.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


The other day a friend emailed me. She knew I was being less than patient with my recovery following surgery. Patience is not my long suit. Those of you who know me can attest to that. Anyway, my friend, Kathy, sent me a Bible verse as encouragement. It was Psalm 59:16 which reads, "But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress."

Somehow, when it arrived in my inbox, it was exactly what I needed to hear. It encouraged me greatly. That made me think of another Bible verse, or so I thought. You see, I was sure there was a verse that said, "encourage one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." So, today I went to look up that verse to see where it is in the Bible. It's not there! There is a verse that says "encourage one another.....", actually, there are three of them. 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:13 and Hebrews 10.25. AND, there are two verses with "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs"; Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, but never are the two phrases found together. Hmm....apparently this is the danger in only partially memorizing scripture.

Still, I don't think God would ever complain about us encouraging one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. I think the important thing here is that we are encouraging one another and if we can do it with His word, all the better. Thanks, Kathy, for your encouraging words.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

And the winner is . . .

I'm not much of a sports fanatic. O.K., I rarely watch a televised sports game. But, the Super Bowl? You have to watch the Super Bowl. People expect you to know what happened AND to have seen the commercials. So, I watched. O.K., I slept through the second quarter, but it seemed as though nothing had changed when I woke up. Really, game wise, all you needed to watch was the last 10 - 12 minutes. Even I thought that was somewhat exciting.

As for the commercials, my favorite one came early in the game. It was for Fed Ex. The head of the shipping department was explaining to the boss that they had decided to use pigeons for all of their shipping needs. They even pulled out giant pigeons, scary looking giant pigeons, for the big packages. But, it seemed their grip wasn't quite strong enough and it was causing chaos as they dropped crates on the streets below. Then, a giant pigeon picked up a car and dropped it in the shipping office. Of course, the moral was, stick with Fed Ex. Totally dumb, but it cracked me up.

In second place was the Budweiser commercial where the Dalmation helps train the draft horse so that he won't be overlooked the next year when it comes time to decide who will pull the Budweiser wagon. Almost a tear jerker, but seriously, it's a beer commercial.

And, on another bright note, there was no "wardrobe malfunction" during half time. All in all, a good game.

Unexpected Taste Sensations

Those of you who know me well, know that I'm not a big vegetable fan. In fact, some would call me a picky eater. If push comes to shove, I'll try to eat some green beans and broccoli on occasion, but in general, I avoid vegetables, especially cooked vegetables. Because I am so very blessed with friends who have been kind enough to bring me meals, I've had a few vegetable dishes come my way, which to my amazement, I've enjoyed.

I thought since I enjoyed them so much, I would get the recipes and share them with you. Seriously, if I think they are good, you can pretty much be sure that you will enjoy them.

The first recipe is for Sweet Potato Fries. I have NEVER had a sweet potato that I enjoyed so my skepticism was high. I started with just two fries on my plate and went back for more. Here is the super easy recipe:

2 sweet potatoes - sliced
Mix together:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Gently toss sweet potatoes to coat in olive oil mixture.
Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The second recipe took me by surprise, also. It's for Bok Choy Chicken Salad. I've seen Bok Choy in the store but I've always wondered what people did with it. This salad is SO good, and good for you.

Mix together:
2 C. cooked chicken - diced
4 – 6 chopped green onions
1 C. chopped Bok Choy

2 T. soy sauce
1 C. oil
½ C. sugar
1 T. vinegar
2 season packets from ramen noodles (chicken flavored)

Crunchy topping – add before serving:
¼ C. sesame seeds
1 C. sliced almonds
2 pkgs. ramen noodles.
Cook all in 2 T. butter on low until browned – add sesame towards end so they don’t burn.

Mix all of the ingredients together right before serving. If you aren't going to use the whole salad at once, only mix what you can eat in one sitting.

Recently, my friend, Beth, posted some recipes on her blog. She is far more internet savvy than me and she had pictures with her recipes. I apologize for not having any pictures. I ate the evidence. Enjoy the recipes!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Blessed with Friends

It's been awhile since I've blogged. What can I say? I haven't had much to talk about. But today, I had the most interesting encounter.

I was at the doctor's office for a check up and I saw another woman that I know. We don't run in the same circles, or chat on the phone, she's just someone I know from around town. She too, had surgery, just four days before mine. Her surgery was way more extensive than mine and it was easy to see that her recovery is going very slowly. I think mine is going slow, but trust me, she's way worse off than I am.

As we chatted, I asked her if people had brought her meals. She said no. I found that so incredibly sad. We have been blessed with more meals than we probably should be eating! In fact, the other night at dinner John said, "We're going to get fat. You have too many friends." Of course, I was thinking to myself, "I wonder how long I can milk this for? Can I pretend I'm not well after the six-week recovery period?" Just kidding, I wouldn't really do that.

On top of the meals, I've gotten cards, flowers, candy and phone calls to cheer me up. I knew I was blessed with friends, but today it really hit home for me. My blessings are abundant!