Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Twenty-nine years ago today I becaome a mother for the first time. I don't look old enough to be the mother of a 29 year-old, you say? I know, I know. I was 12 when I had him. Ha! Where do the years go? I can still tell you in great detail, the events of Paul's birth, though I'm guessing most of you aren't really reading this blog for that kind of information.

Mothering is a great journey of wonder, worry, incredible love, anger (at times), challenges, laughs, and much, much more. And, of course, there are the countless hours at sporting events and concerts. What would we have done for entertainment without PeeWee baseball, soccer games, tennis matches, a few concerts that left you wondering if ANYONE ever practiced and many more that let you know they all did? And, after 29 years, here's what I know about being a mother. It's all worth it. I can't think of anything that has brought me greater joy.

Happy Birthday, Paul! I'm so glad to be your mom!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Now I Know

Well, now I know. I'm not a huge opera fan. If you read my previous blog you know that John and I went to Northwestern College tonight to see the "world premiere" of Ruth, the Opera. The story was based on the biblical account of Ruth as told in the Old Testament book of, you guessed it, Ruth. It's a great story and I'm really glad I was so familiar with it before seeing the opera.

You need to know that the students at Northwestern did a fabulous job. It was easy to hear, on pitch, and for the most part the words were easy to understand. I'm in no way criticizing their performance. They were great! And, for the times when you couldn't quite understand the words, you could see them projected on the wall above the stage. That was quite helpful.

Here's what I didn't like. The music. I love musicals mind you. But, what I like about them is that I can leave singing the tunes. In fact, I can be somewhat annoying when my head fills with show tunes. I just can't keep it all bottled up inside. I feel the necessity to share the tune floating around in my head. It seems that not everyone enjoys this about me. Go figure.

With operas, or maybe it's just this opera, I had a hard time even figuring out where the next note might be. You know how when you hear a song you can almost project the upcoming note? Not so with this show. The notes were all over the place, and the tunes were often in minor keys, or sounded like they were. I mean, you could tell when they were trying to be cheery and all, but still, it just didn't leave me singing a new song. Again, this is just a personal preference and in no way is meant to put down the writer or the performer of the opera. I liken it to not being fond of peas. Other veggies are fine, but not so much peas. Well, in my case, other veggies don't quite make it for me either, but that's another story for another day.

With all of that said, John and I were both very moved at the end of the show when all of the people in Bethlehem were rejoicing with Naomi at the birth of her grandchild. The actress who played Naomi was able to convey the incredible joy that Naomi felt when God redeemed what had been a very hard season of her life. If you don't know the story, you really should read it. It's short (only four chapters long - Bible chapters that is) and an amazing testimony to the way God takes what looks like a hopeless situation and turns it around. I love it.

Oh, one other fun thing about tonight. At Northwestern College, when students get engaged, someone paints their name on a rock that is easily visable when you drive into the campus. Truly, it must have started out as a stone and became a rock as layer and layers of paint have been added over the years. Tonight as we entered the campus, the names on the rock were Ruth and Boaz. How sweet is that? If you don't get it, pull out your Bible and look up Ruth. It'll all make sense.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Suggestions welcome

Sometimes my husband cracks me up. One of my favorite things that he does is when we are in a group and introducing ourselves to someone new. John will say his name and then, if I say my name at a separate time he'll point back and forth between us and say, "we go together." It always sounds like we're dating and we're not actually married. I usually follow that up with, "yes, we've been going together for 33 years." But, I do kind of like the fact that he still thinks of us as "going together."

This all brings me to our current "dates." We love to go out and on Friday nights or Saturdays I can tell that John is ready for something a little more fun than a quiet evening at home. So, occasionally I'll spend some time looking through the current movie listings to see what new movie is showing and where. Our problem lately has been that there isn't much out there that we really want to see. Plus, I don't ALWAYS want to go to a movie. So, this is why I'm looking for suggestions. What do you do on a date when you don't go to a movie? What's the most creative date you've ever been on? Ordinary date ideas are o.k. also.

Now, I have to admit that we have a pretty "creative" date coming up Friday night. Well, it's not all that terribly creative but it's certainly something we've never done before. We are going to see Ruth, the Opera. Oh, wait. It's not just Ruth, the Opera, it's the World Premiere of Ruth, the Opera. It's showing, or should I say premiering, this weekend at Northwestern College in St. Paul and it's FREE. You can't beat that. Well, maybe you can, we'll see. I must say I'm a tad bit concerned about the "free" part. Don't they think anyone would pay to see this opera?

The opera is based on the biblical story of Ruth and Naomi. Since I just taught on Ruth and Naomi a few weeks ago at our mom's group Bible study, I thought it might be interesting to see the story set in opera form. I've never really been to an opera, unless you count the movie version of Phantom of the Opera. This should be interesting. I'm just glad it's in English.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lessons from the Garden

Sunday morning, John and I worked in our yard. We always feel a bit guilty when we work in the yard on Sunday as our neighbors expect us to be at church. Sometimes I want to post a sign that says “we went to church last night!” but I doubt they really care that much. Anyway, it was time for the annual removal of the leaves that seem to move in after we think we're done raking in the fall, and for what should be the annual trimming of the bushes. And, praise God, we finally had some nice weather. But, as I was working in the yard today I realized there are some great lessons that we can learn from the garden.

First of all, we need to push through the muck and the mire to let the beauty that God has put inside of us shine. These crocuses managed to push their way up through the dirt, the dead leaves, and past the stems of last year's plants to let their beauty "shine" in my garden.

Secondly, even when we may be living IN the muck and the mire we still need to let God's beauty radiate from us. We can't let circumstances around us dictate how we will act.

Then, of course, it was easy to see how the Enemy tries to get in and take over our lives. Seriously, I think the dandelions in my yard are a direct hit from Satan. They are everywhere! And, tenacious? These little buggers are holding tight to their territory in my yard. I think the roots may indeed be making their way down to hell itself!

O.K., I'll admit, these lessons may seem kind of corny coming from my garden and all, but these are the types of things that go through my strange little mind each year when I witness the miracle that is spring. And when I'm all done witnessing these miracles I come in the house and prasise God for the miracle of Advil. My muscles aren't nearly as excited about spring as I am.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Needed - A speaker's guide

For the past three weeks I've been teaching the Mom's group at our church. We meet every Tuesday morning and I love this great group of women. My lessons have focused around the theme of Women God Uses. It's so much fun for me to research Bible women each week and find out what we can learn from them to apply to our own lives.

Today, I taught on Hannah. Hannah was a woman with an amazing faith and a boldness to come before the Lord with her deepest desire - to have a child. I was totally encouraged to pray with boldness as I learned more and more about Hannah. But, that isn't really the reason I need the speaker's guide.

You see, today, as I was speaking, one of the moms was holding her child in her lap. Most kids go into the nursery but sometimes kids are hesitant, or too little, or whatever. This little girl was being good and sitting very quietly and was really no problem whatsoever. Suddenly, and without any warning, she started throwing up. Bless her heart, she was even quiet about that! But, it did leave me in a quandary. What is the proper protocol for a speaker when someone in the audience is throwing up? Do I stop and enlist everyone's help in dealing with the mess? Do I leave it to a few women to deal with? What??? Where is the speaker's handbook that tells me what to do?

I decided to plunge ahead. If you listen to my message on Hannah on the River Valley Church podcast you'll definitely know when the "incident" occurred, unless of course, our amazing "podcast guru", Tom Poch, is able to cut it out. So, as I'm writing this, I figured out what the proper response would have been. Stop the lesson, pray for healing for the dear, sweet little girl, and pray for extra energy for her mom (children rarely just throw up once) and THEN go on with the lesson. I'm sure it's what Hannah would have done. Next time I'll know.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mo Henry

Whenever I go to the movies I'm always the last one out of the theater. I stay for the entirety of the credits, while the clean up crew waits to come in and tidy up the theater. I'm not sure when I started this, but I definitely know why. One day, I decided that if my child was, say, the gaffer on a film, I'd be proud of what he did and I'd want people to see his name on the big screen. So, it was at that moment, that I decided to treat other people's children the way I'd want them to treat mine. It's a bit corny, I know, but I always stay to read the names. And believe me, there are some interesting names scrolling along the screen.

Over the years there is one name I've seen over and over. I saw her name again tonight on the credits for The Bucket List. It's Mo Henry. Mo is a negative cutter. For many years I thought Mo was an African-American man. I don't know why, I just did. One day I decided to look up her name (when I still thought she was a he) and found out that not only is Mo a woman, but she even has a fan club! Apparently, I'm not the only one who stays to the end of the credits. Mo has been the negative cutter on over 300 movies and is highly acclaimed as being one of the best. I must admit, I can't differentiate her work from other negative cutters but it seems some people can.

Mo's is the only name that I've seen consistently over the years (other than the actors) but I still enjoy reading the credits. And, if you aren't staying to the end, you could be missing some fun stuff. Some movies actually put footage in amidst the credits to keep you entertained as you read the credits. My favorite post film movies are "The Runaway Bride" and "Finding Nemo." If you haven't seen the credits on those movies, you really should. Do it for Mo's mom, and others like her.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Watching and waiting

If you live in Minnesota I have just one piece of advice for you. DON'T JUMP! Spring IS coming, I just know it. Despite the snow and yuck going on outside right now, I'm sure that spring is coming. You see, I have been watching and waiting for weeks.

Every year, it seems that by the time I get my flower bed uncovered, my early blooming bulbs are already up. I didn't want to miss it this year so I started watching for them a couple of weeks ago. Most of the snow had melted so I went outside and moved a few leaves around to see if there was any green. Even a few weeks ago I did find some green. I was so excited until I realized they were dandelions! Seriously, I think I have more dandelions in my yard now than I had last year before the first snow fall. Who knew that dandelions could grow even in the winter months?

But, this week, the bulbs started coming up! Oh, I LOVE the spring! The first bulbs to sprout in my yard are called scillia. They have tiny, little purple flowers that bloom in early May. They spread quickly (sometimes a little too quickly) and are the perfect thing to encourage me to get outside and start working on my garden. Every year about this time I start singing a somewhat corny chorus that I learned when I was much, much younger. It's called "I Believe in Miracles." Part of the song goes like this:

I've seen the lily push it's way up through the stubborn sod,
I believe in miracles 'cause I believe in God.

Truly, I watch the plants come back to life every year and I stand in awe at their tenaciousness. I mean really, it's stinkin' cold here in the winter months and yet faithfully, every year, the perennials come back to life and turn my yard from yuck to wow. Well, it would be wow if it weren't for those pesky dandelions!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Learning about Robotics

I was at a women's conference this weekend and learned a little more about this robotic surgery deal. That's not what the conference was about, I just happened to stumble upon this information during a conversation I was having with another woman.

In addition to my conversation at the conference, a couple of my faithful blog readers also tried to educate me regarding "Robotic Assisted Surgery." Apparently, "Robotic Assisted Surgery" is not like having R2D2 handing the doctor his/her instruments. What they can do is actually get into some tight spots in the body without having to be so invasive. For instance, there are some heart surgeries that require that the doctor basically crack open your chest bone to access your heart. Some of these surgeries can now be done using robotic assistance so that your chest does not need to be cracked open. The doctor is still in charge of moving the robotic arm to perform the surgery. Phew!

So, o.k., I get it. I guess if I needed one of these types of surgeries, I'd be o.k. with the robotic help. Let's just pray I don't need one.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Robotic Assisted Surgery

As I was coming home from Roseville yesterday I nearly drove into the median! Why you ask? A HUGE sign on the side of Regions Hospital in St. Paul grabbed my attention for longer than I should have had my eyes off the road. The sign was announcing Robot Assisted Surgery. Are you kidding me? Seriously, is this going to be a draw for people to have their surgeries at Regions Hospital? I guess it's possible that robots make less mistakes than people do but there is just something weird about the idea of a robot handing my surgeon his instruments.

I think the sign is a ploy for Regions to get more patients. I mean, had I not corrected my course I would have hit that median, and which hospital is the closest trauma hospital? Regions. very careful when driving down 35E. You really DON'T want to be one of the first patients to have robot assisted surgery. Let them work the bugs out first.