July 18, 2006

Extremely Fortunate

I know that people probably get so sick of reading how fortunate that I feel that I am, but sometimes I can't help but post about it. I am really, really so fortunate. I have so many things to be thankful for. I forget sometimes myself, and I don't think that nearly enough of us take the time to think of all of the blessings that have been bestowed upon us and thank God for them. I don't even think that we take the time to realize and acknowledge to ourselves just how lucky we are.

I find myself being so upset and torn up about things that, I think at that moment, will just ruin my life. It takes a while sometimes to realize that my life is made up of so much more than whatever that was that was consuming my thoughts at that time. My life is more than a job or more than a physical imperfection or more than not having everything that I want. It is so much more.

I have a wonderful husband after having been in a terribly abusive relationship for so many years. I have one of the best Mothers in the entire world. I have two sons (one natural and one adopted) that I was predicted to never have. I have many special family members including in-laws. I have epliepsy, but it is controlled. I finally have a special job that makes me feel as if I am making a difference in this world and not just going through the motions. I could go on and on and on too. I could talk about my friends, my church, etc....

I think that we should take more time to think of all of the things that we have to be greatful and thankful for. We can all probably come up with quite a list.

Posted by Barbara at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2006

Judge Not

Matthew 7:1-29
1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6 "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

I was shocked, confused and bewildered as I entered Heaven's door
Not by the beauty of it all, or the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven who made me sputter and gasp--
the thieves, the liars, the sinners, the alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought was rotting away in hell, w
as sitting pretty on cloud nine, looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, "What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

And why's everyone so quiet, so somber? Give me a clue."
"Hush, child," said He "They're all in shock.
No one thought they'd see you."

Judge NOT.

Posted by Barbara at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2006

Happiness Is a Choice?

Someone that I really care about keeps telling me that happiness is a choice. I am not sure whether I believe it or not. Some things make me inclined to say that it is and some make me inclined to say that it isn't.

Can we really take lemons and turn them into lemonade by our choices and attitudes? If we are a sour puss, is it because we have chosen not to think ourselves happy?

I am inclined to believe that we should do the best that we can do and be happy with what we have while trying to do better. I believe that we should keep the attitude that we should count our blessings and see the positive things in our lives. However, not so much so that we don't recognize the problems that need to be tended to or gotten rid of. Is that part of our choice to be happy? Choosing to get rid of the negative or 'bad' things in our lives to enhance our happiness? But even when we do that, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better if it doesn't get worse and stay that way. We are taking a chance, aren't we? Or is it what we make of that chance?

Any facts or opinions?

Posted by Barbara at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2006

Busy busy busy

It has been a long time since I have posted and I know that everyone thinks that I have fallen off of the planet. I haven't though. I have just been working a lot of hours. I have been working 60-70 hours for months doing hospice nursing.

I love my job and find it very rewarding, but welcome this slow time while we have plenty of staff and census is a little low. Office politics is a little bit of a pain in the rear but can be avoided if I just get in the office and get out and tend to my own business. Nursing is definately a 'dog-eat-dog' profession. I think that is what is all about sometimes with some people.

I just don't let it bother me so far. Maybe it will start to get to me after awhile, but so far I just trust in the Lord to take care of me and 'get my back.' I trust Him to take care of me, watch over me, and help me to make good decisions. I hope that I am always kind to everyone, set a good example, make everyone want to have what I have, treat everyone in the office equally as good, and do what is absolutely best for my patients. I love my little patients and want to make life as fulfilling and comfortable as possble for the time they have left. If there is any way that I can assist them to make that happen, I am there.

I have such wonderful co-workers for the most part too. They are all so in tuned with the patients needs and communicate so well with each other to do what is best for the patient. Our CNA's are our eyes and do an excellent job reporting things that they know we don't see doing an assessment that they do see with so much more hands on work with them. Our social worker is the absolute best and so is our chaplain. All of whom I am happy to consider personal friends. Our nursing staff is growing by leaps and bounds as is our business and census. We have been fortunate to have been blessed with the expertise certain fields and clinical experience. I have a vast group to learn and absorb from.

I never thought that I could do hospice and now I can't imagine my life doing anything else. I quit a very good job making very good money to go to nursing school to do what I felt like I should be doing and to do something that I felt was fulfilling. It was tough to give up that salary, do without for a time. get behind, and start over as low man on the totem pole after holding a respected position...but I have to say that it was worth it and is very rewarding. Surprisingly, answering to a lot of people again isn't quite so bad. The people I have to answer to have shown me a lot of respect for my hard work and dedication.

Funny...I used to think that I'd have more time when I got out of the business that I was in and then when I got out of nursing school and didn't have to study so much. I haven't had much time. I have worked a lot of overtime, but I cannot say that I have been miserable like whe I was doing what I used to do or when I was in school. I am so happy...just tired. I really think that this is where I am supposed to be.

I will try to post again and not wait so long to do it this time. I hope all of you are well and your dreams are coming true!!

Posted by Barbara at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2005

I'm back!!

Okay! I have gotten everyone's e-mails and I am going to start posting again. You win! I really have just been trying to not depress anyone because I have been so down lately. I feel that my mood comes across in what I post.

For those of you that don't know....my mysterious pain that I posted about at the end of the year came back and then some. Two to three weeks ago I started hurting so badly that I can't even manage to clean a single room in my house without causing myself excruciating pain. Of course, the worst has been going through my mind. I have put off the bone biopsy for months now and I was thinking that surely I must be eaten up with bone cancer or osteomyelitis and if it is in the spine my time is limited. But then my blood work came back good....all of it. Even my sedimentation rate was a low normal.

Then I became really confused because I have been having severe joint pain for months now....so bad that I have been having to wear knee braces, elbow braces, use NSAIDS, etc. But! If I have arthritis, then there would be inflammation and the sedimentation rate would be up, right? And now my muscles are hurting too!! I can't sleep, I can't shop, I can't function!! What could be wrong. The chest x-ray is normal. I am having another CT and bone scan tomorrow......but still something is off.

The nurse practitioner suggested that maybe I have Fibromyalgia. I was really ready to embrace this diagnosis because it was much better than the ones that I was coming up with in my mind. However, there was something not quite right about that too. Wouldn't that come on more gradual? And I don't have chronic fatigue....I'm hyper. There is something else we are missing! Then it hit me!! It is my thyroid medicine! I started having problems when I started taking it and they went away when I quit taking it and they came back when I started taking it again. So, I looked it up. Guess what two of the rare side effects are? Arthralgia (joint pain) and myalgia (muscle pain). And remember the mysterious flank pain that I have been having off and on for months and months? A common, serious side effect is nephritis (inflammation of the nephron). The nephron is a major functioning part of the kidney....thus... flank pain!!

Now, I have to get the doctors to agree with it and help me come up with an alternative to the medication....or agree to lower my dosage.

Anyway, at least for now....I'm in a better mood because I have a ray of hope that doesn't have the 'c' word in it. :o)

Posted by Barbara at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2005

Individuality?

We are so influenced by what we do, say, and believe. We are expected to act and believe a certain way by our church, by our spouses, and according to our profession. Other things influence as well, but these are the major ones. My question is what happens if they don't agree. Then to make matters worse...your own opinion differs as well!!

This is kind of the delimma that I am in lately. It kind of leaves me in a 'To post or not to post' kind of mode. If I post about something that I'm not passionate about...I feel like I am wasting my time. If I post about something that I 'am' passionate about...I'm going to be at odds with someone!! Usually it is my husband.

I don't want to argue with my husband for the obvious reasons. I don't want to disagree with the church for abvious reasons...and I'm not qualified yet to base decisions on anything to do with nursing. I can still offer my opinion in the transportation industry though. :o)

My husband and I have very differnt beliefs...yet similar..in a way. You kind of know what I mean if you read either of our blogs regularly. However, I can't help but feel that a storm is brewing. We are bound to get into a big one soon. It is inevitable. Our opinions are just opposite enough to cause friction and arguments and I feel that things may come to a head before long. Certain things have happened lately that can't keep occuring without causing problems.

Who would have thought that a Universalist Unitarian liberal atheist and a Church of God conservative Christian could co-exist as peaceably as we have for as long as we have? Sure, we have had our moments, but have come through with a great relationship all in all. Can we continue this way with little or no problems or is it bound to hit the proverbial fan?

Posted by Barbara at 10:05 PM | Comments (2)

April 11, 2005

Hallelujah!

I passed! Barely...but it works, right? :o)
I just thank the Lord!!

Posted by Barbara at 08:55 PM | Comments (2)

Holy Cow

Final Exam Today!!!

~~Pray for me~~

Posted by Barbara at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2005

Anxiety

Now that we are a week before the final exam and I am, AS USUAL, hanging on by the edge of the seat of my pants.....we (the instructors and I) have figured out my problem. I have severe test anxiety. I knew that I had test anxiety. Doesn't everyone? I'm pretty sure that mine goes beyond the norm though.

I have a pattern of doing well on the first part of the test, then bombing the second half. I start feeling rushed with the time running out...even though I might only have half of the test left and still have half of the time left. I start worrying that I might get stuck on one or two then not have time to finish. Then I panic and can't concentrate...and have to read the question five times before it makes sense because I'm in a state of panic...then I lose more time...then become more panicked...and it snowballs. I've even been known to start crying and have to compose myself to finish the test. It's horrible! I'm not like that in other situations.

I did get like that once when an instructor was standing over me while I drew up IV push meds and had just fussed at me because I had not looked up the rate of administration the night before. Then she was telling me that I was going to have to get faster than that because I had a lot of work to do. I began shaking so violently that I thought that I'd drop the vial. It was nearly impossible to hold it still enough to draw the medication up at that point. I'm still not the speediest at drawing up medications but faster than I was then. I'm sure that is something that will develop as you do it over and over again, ya know?

Anyway, what can you do to combat test anxiety a week before the test? We have 100 questions and 2 hours. That sounds like a lot of time, but the questions are a half of a paragraph long and require a lot of thinking. If they'd just give me 30 more minutes! :o)

If you have any suggestions...they are welcome.

Posted by Barbara at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2005

Happy and Sad

This blog entry is about someone that I'm very proud of. His name is Josh and he is my sister-in-law's brother. I have been praying for him.

At my church, we have what we call "prayer of three" and we choose three people that need salvation to pray for. Each person in our cell group chooses three...then we share names and pray for each other's three. Josh was one of my three.

He went away some time ago to boot camp for the Marines and just graduated last week. While he was away, he got saved! I was so tickled! And I am so proud of him for so many reasons.

Josh is such a sweet person. He has been as long as I have known him. He stands up for what he believes in, he is family oriented, and he is sticking his neck out to fight for our country. Do I need to say more?

In a couple of weeks or less, he will be going to Fallujah. While I beam with pride, my heart is burdened to pray for him constantly. Please help me pray for his safe return. He will be a new father soon and will need to come home to resume that role. We all love him and look forward to that day.

Posted by Barbara at 06:39 PM | Comments (5)

March 08, 2005

Honesty

There are many articles out that say that nurses are among the most honest people around. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but for the most part I believe it and believe that I am going into the right profession.

I have always tried to be an honest person. Even when I wasn't being consciously aware of things, I was terribly aware if I'd messed up on accident and was eager to fix whatever wrong I had done. I also didn't want anyone to think badly of me for any reason. I never have. My mother had a huge part in instilling that in me. Sometimes, I think a little too much. However, I told my husband that he never had to worry about me being unfaithful. I would never be able to do a thing like that and if I ever came to a point that I thought I could...I know for a fact that the guilt would eat me alive. :o)

Things that stand out from when I was growing up about this are when I was a preteen I was standing in line in the grocery store with a handful of bubble gum. It was a long wait and I ended up putting it in my pocket because I had a habit of putting my hands in my pockets. When I got to the car, I realized that I had left without paying. I immediately went into shock...through the tears, told my mother what had happened, and begged the cashier's forgiveness when I went back in to pay for it while my mother chuckled at me. I also remember, as a teenager, when my friends would steal panties from Hills Dept Store and I just wondered why they thought that pretty panties was worth going to Hell and how they could stand to look at themselves in the mirror. When I french kissed my first boy, the guilt ate at me until I finally took my mother to the bedroom and cried heaving sobs explaining to her that I had done a terrible thing. You can imagine her relief and laughter when I finally told her what the awful thing was.

I make mistakes once in awhile that I regret and wish that I could take back. I have road rage and wish that I hadn't and wish that I could back up and do it again.....but I never steal from anyone, take what isn't mine, cheat, or anything like that. I don't understand anyone that can. Especially those that take from people that can't protect themselves from it. I just can't stand to see anyone taken advantage of, neglected, or mistreated, ya know?

There are many people that call themselves Christians that don't have a clue what it means to be Christ like. Christ would take a dime from anyone that didn't give it willingly. Christ wouldn't force anyone to do anything against their will or manipulate them or their possessions when He knew that it is something that they would not willingly want. That is why He gave us free will.

These same people will be judged and I will pray that God will show them the error of their ways before it is too late.

Posted by Barbara at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2005

Miracle Drugs

Drugs are very good things if use appropriately. Of course, like anything, if abused....they're very bad. There are so many classifications and so many uses! Some people have developed a drug phobia and others think that they are less of a person if they have to depend on a drug. I have something to say to them.

I take a drug for seizures. What in the world would my life be like without it? I used to be really resentful that I had to take medication to get by everyday and that this medication slowed down and impaired my ability to think. I tried weaning myself off of it to prove to everyone that I could do without it. It was a disaster. I had a grand mal seizure... a bad one that left me injured, bleeding, with temporary cord shock, and on my way to the hospital in an ambulance. I didn't quite think that one through well enough, huh? I have to take thyroid medication for hyperthyroidism. If I don't, I get so nervous and jittery that I feel as though I am going insane. Think about it....our thyroid has a hand in regulating almost everything!

My son takes drugs for hyperactivity and bipolar mood swings. Before we got him stabilized on the meds he is on now, he was suicidal, self-mutilating, very unhappy, and had a very dark mood. Now he is smiling, happy, and has no destructive behaviors or outbursts. He's not a zombie either. He seems as normal as anyone else.

Some people view drugs as a crutch. Some view them as something to cover up a problem that God would heal if we weren't on the medications. (That is for a different post.) The point that I am trying to make is that drugs are good if they are used therapeutically. People say that God gave us brains to use and doctors to go to when we get sick. Well, he gave us drugs and gave doctors the knowledge of how to use them to help us too.

I know someone that has been to the doctor and is believed to have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with Anxiety. They were put on Paxil and life became more pleasant for them and those around them. However, they believe that they need to be in control of all of their faculties, so they quit taking the medication and quit going to the doctor because they believe that they are cured since the destructive behaviors have ceased. Yes, they can survive without it, but life is more peasant and easier for all with it. If you have a chemical imbalance that makes you that way....why not take something that straightens it out?? I just don't get it. Why the need to feel so totally in control? In reality, if wild mood swings are controlling your life, the inablility to control your modes of thought and when you cut off a thought keep you anxious, the ability to relax is unobtainable, and the people you love annoy you....are you really in control? I don't think so. I think that the medicine helps you regain that control.

My opinion.

Posted by Barbara at 07:18 AM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2005

I Fell Again!!

Can you believe it? I mean, who falls? Toddlers and the elderly! Not healthy women my age that are sober! And embarrassing!! It was bad enough to fall being attacked by a bird and wondering who saw me through their opened curtains and laughed their behinds off at me, but this time I busted it in front of many classmates.

The new nursing building only has a limited amount of parking spaces. If you arrive late on Mondays, you have to park at the meth lab (Olan Mills) and walk through a swamp area via a wooden walk. It is green with algae and it had been raining. It was as slick as if someone had smeared snot on it. We were all slipping and sliding, but I was the only one to fall. Even though I had on black jeans, I wore green algae stains the entire lenfth of my legs all day and mud on my backpack. I am sore, scraped, bruised, and having a tough time moving and sleeping, but I didn't break anything. And think goodness I landed on the boardwalk and didn't slide off into the swampy water. There are no handrails.

Anyway, at least it got them in gear. The college decided that it was time to clean it before someone else got hurt. The next day they were out cleaning it with bleach. Something good came of it, right?

Posted by Barbara at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2005

School Time Again

I guess everyone has figured out that it is school time again and I am up to my eyeballs in clinicals, homework, and taking tests. It will soon be over though and I can see a light at the end of my tunnel!! The May 6 graduation day is approaching fast!

I just wanted to pop in and say that God has been and is being good to me. All is well on the homefront and in school. I am blessed. I hope everyone is well and I pray that everyone is blessed and knows where their help comes from. :o)

Posted by Barbara at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2005

True Story

I knew from the beginning that there was something different about Matthew. Of course, I blamed myself most of the time figuring that I must be doing something wrong. I wasn't doing something right and the pediatrician wasn't telling me what to do and I was just a terrible mom. I was young, but I'd been around a lot of babies, and he was different. Was it because he knew he wasn't with the mother that carried him? Was it because she had such poor prenatal care when she was pregnant with him? Was it because her diet was so poor and she smoked and drank on occasion while she was pregnant with him?

Then I had my other child. Boy was there a difference. Jesse was so loving and received love so well. He rarely cried and was so healthy...whereas, Matthew always cried and was always sickly. Matthew was so hard to deal with...hyper, slow to walk, slow to be potty trained, slow to talk, and a real loner. Jesse did everything early...talk, walk, potty train, and loved being with people. He had personality plus and was sooo smart. Matthew was smart in a different way. He could figure out any child lock....climb to the highest point of the house anywhere in the house by age one, find the most incredible things to stick in electrical sockets, try to swim repeatedly in the deep end of the pool even before he could walk and long after (it never worked)....destroy an entire room in ten minutes...etc. I think you get the idea. Ask-a Nurse at the local hospital knew me by name. They eventually started calling me just to check on him if it had been awhile since I'd called. And the only time I had to call them with Jesse is when Matthew fed him about twenty Flinstones chewables with iron!!

Life was never boring. Matthew would just suddenly stop playing and run in the room at warp speed and black Jesse's eye with a toy for no apparent reason or grab him around the neck and slam his head into the wall. One day, he 'sawed his neck" with a serrated bread knife at my mom's house that h got from the dish drain by pushing his choo choo train up to the sink to get it out. Finally at the age of three...in spite of everyone arguing with me about it....I took him to the doctor and he was put on Ritalin. At that point it was either calm him down, get me some help, or lock me in a mental institution. I had reached the end of my rope.

Life suddenly got better. He finally began to learn to count and speak words correctly. He was able to sit still and actually play with Jesse. The change was remarkable. He was so far behind cognitively, that we had to put him through kindergarten twice....but he finally caught up. He was doing a lot better until.......

The abuse began again. My husband had drank when we first got married and for awhile after. He was a bit rough with Matt. He would spank him and leave whelps. He would spank him for such stupid things...like reaching for things in the store. What child less than two years of age doesn't?? Then it got better for awhile. He quit drinking and we were much better off for a year or two. I hadn't been beaten in awhile...or abused much. He would punch me in the head with his fist so that no one could see that he hit me. Sometimes he'd keep me up all night for several nights denying me sleep until I was delirious. He smashed things against the walls....threw phones through windows...broke things that meant a lot to me...force me to have sex against my will....etc. Then he had started this back. This time though, he was chasing Matthew through the house like a madman, spanking him and telling him that he'd get it worse if he told me when I got home from work (I didn't find out for awhile), throw things at us, smash things on the wall over his head for the scare affect, throw him across the room onto the couch or a bed, ask him to answer questions that he couldn't possibly answer and make his punishment worse when he didn't...and on and on.

I divorced him when that stuff started happening (not soon enough though.) I got my kids psychiatric counseling and set out to find someone completely opposite from him for my next partner. He has been a pain in the rearend since we seperated. He has quit drinking, doing drugs, and physically abusing Matthew as far as I know and am told. However, he thinks that this should relieve him of any responsibilty of what happened in the past. He gets angry with Matthew when he has a hard time getting over the past. He says that he has more than made up for it and Matt just needs to get on with his life. I can't convince him that just stopping the behavior is not enough to help Matthew through the trauma that he was put through. However, he says that it
is not his problem that Matt can't adjust and get over it...he's not going to pay for his past the rest of his life.

Of course, he has NEVER attended the first appt at his therapist or psychiatrist no matter how much I have tried to get him to go. He refuses to attend support group meetings. He's just always too busy and has to work too much. Yeah, and what have I done all of these years?? (hmmmm) Anyway, that might be a valid excuse, but he won't even read any books, acknowledge that the doctors have enough sense to diagnose him, or even call the doctor and discuss it. What does that tell you? I know what it tells me!!

All of this to get at what? I'm mad! That's all. Matt decided about a month ago that he just really didn't belong over at his my ex's house. He doesn't feel right there, he doesn't feel wanted there, and he is uncomfortable the entire time that he is there. I'm not making him go back. He still does more for the one child than the other. Matt sees it. If Jesse mows the yard, he gets paid. He will make Matthew mow...and he gets nothing for weeks in a row. Little things like that to a child are crushing and the ex doesn't have enough sense to see it.

Does Matthew have problems? Yes! Genetically, yes. The father was bipolar and the mother was ADHD. He didn't have much of a chance to begin with. He needed special guidance from day one. But the ex thinks that "I" am the problem and I just didn't allow him to "beat his ass" enough. I guess I should have let it get to the point that ER visits were needed and the state took him away? How do you argue with such ignorance? But even more, I'd like to know, how you don't get angry enough to bite through nails, cry, and let it affect your everyday life when some jerk is calling you telling you what a 'bi***' you are, what a pathetic mother you are, and how they're going to "come to your front door" if you hang up on them again. (Keep in mind that this is an ex that has never paid a dime of child support though he thinks that buying their school clothes, shoes, and paying for half of their sporting supplies, yearbooks, school lunches etc. is supporting them while we pay for all medical insurance, co-pays, medicine, the little things that pop up all year long, the "mom I have a field trip" and "mom I need three dollars for a pizza party" stuff, etc.

The only thing good that I can say about him when I am this mad at him is that he got lucky again and got a really good girlfriend. He won't marry her yet which is really stupid on his part. He ought to grab on while he can before she sees him for what he is and runs for the hills. He won't find another one like her....or me. She is our communication most of the time and I thank God for her. I am glad that I have had her on my side for the time that I have. I only hope that he doesn't try to turn her against me like he has tried to do many times before with a bunch of lies so that he is my only means of communication. I will have to hire a mediator then....and I will feel like I have lost a friend.

Well, I've vented enough.

Posted by Barbara at 11:30 PM | Comments (3)

January 11, 2005

Tommy Tenney

This was very interesting to me today so I thought that I would share. This is from the Tommy Tenney (God Chasers) website of Daily Devotions.

Experiencing His Presence
Devotions For God Catchers
Week 5, Day 2

Let Hunger Rise and Have Its Say!

Have we become like the Laodicean church members who said, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” while totally unaware that they were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”?3 (The God Catchers, p. 63).

Rent a meeting room, set tables, and invite 200 guests to a five-course meal “fit for kings.” Then watch what happens when your guests are “served” by perfectly dressed and trained waiters delivering single servings of sugar pills, pieces of fruit-flavored chewing gum on toothpicks, breath mints, antacid tablets, and plastic wrapped candies. The guests may manage to preserve the pretense of civility for one or two of these “courses,” but the time inevitably will come when someone brave enough to break the silence will voice his hunger (and irritation with such a façade of a feast).

Would this one person’s honesty make his less vocal companions feel embarrassed at first? Would that make his honesty inappropriate or wrong? How does this example apply to your life and your local church experience?
The medical world uses the term, placebo, to describe the sugar pills physicians sometimes prescribe as “medication” for unknowing patients. These “medications” have no medicinal or nutritional properties, but the patients gladly receive them as the cure for what ails them. How many times do we go home after our worship gatherings happily clutching powerless spiritual placebos prescribed in place of the real cure for our gnawing hunger of the heart? (It is rare to find an insincere or dishonest pastor, so the problem must be that spiritual leaders are simply human too.)

We go through life trying to fill our existence with empty platitudes and man-pleasing programs while we gradually grow weaker and colder in spirit—until the day hunger finally rises up to have its say.

Have you ever felt hunger rise up in your soul to voice your hunger in desperate tones? What would happen when or if it did?

Why does it take so long for us to perceive our condition and seek the face of our Cure? In the absence of courage, truth is most often concealed and weakness is rarely revealed. God had good reason to warn us that fearing man is the equivalent of a dangerous trap set for our souls.4 Momentary fear races through entire church congregations when even one voice rises to God in uninhibited frustration and desperation, “God, I need You!”

When this kind of honesty surfaces in a church service, we start to feel awkward. That is because most of us are uncomfortable with this amount of intense hunger ...

We are afraid to recognize and confess our gnawing hunger of the heart, and we are even more afraid of its cure—a fresh and intimate encounter with the presence of God. It’s simple: God’s children need more than Daddy’s Word, Daddy’s gifts, Daddy’s daily provision, or the assistance of Daddy’s earthly assistants. We need Him. We desperately long to feel His touch on our lives (The God Catchers, p. 63).

Why would God release such a spirit of hunger in a local church? Why did He put this book in your hands? Could it be that desperate hunger part of His divine agenda for you?

What Do You Think?

Some of us have “faked fullness” for most of our Christian lives. Whether in church or on the job, we live with a pasted-on smile, and we refuse to leave home without it. The truth is that more and more Christian “fakers of fullness” are saying, “I’ve had enough of that.” Their inner hunger is beginning to get the best of them, and God is beginning to get interested once again (page 63).

1. What do you think? Are you personally acquainted with “faked fullness” and the pasted-on smile? Explain.

2. Honestly, is your inner hunger beginning to get the best of you? Describe what is happening in your life as you learn more about hunger and the pursuit of God.

Scripture Reading: Revelation 3:14-19, in which Jesus reveals the desperate condition of the complacent and satisfied church.

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:
15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

The New King James Version, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 1998, c1982.

Prayer Father, not my will but Yours be done. In Your mercy, deliver me from the snare of satisfaction and the sin of complacency. Thank You for opening my eyes to my own desperate condition. I’m determined to pursue You and sooth my heart’s longing in Your presence.


Posted by Barbara at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2005

New Year's Resolutions

I hadn't really thought about making any because I look to better myself daily... whether it actually happens or not. I did, however, START thinking about it after seeing my husband's list on his blog. This is what his looks like...

*****************************************************************
Break alcohol addiction. I quit smoking nearly two years ago, after discovering that it was possible to do so. It has taken me so much longer to quit drinking because, frankly, alcohol is such a kick. There's nothing that beats the mellow contentment brought by a couple or three glasses of wine, slugs of whiskey, bottles of beer, or margaritas on the rocks. But that carefree bliss is unsustainable. After a few minutes, the only choices for me are to "come down", or to continue on to oblivion. Dependence is the other factor. It isn't good to be unable to relax or even make it through the day without the sauce. I'm currently five weeks dry.

Retrospectives! A year ago today, I moved to Movable Type on smijer.com. I resisted the urge to place great big honkin' "Mission Accomplished" banner at the top of the page.

Learn to juggle! I'm about two weeks into this project, now working on tricks like the reverse cascade. It feels nearly as good as the wine once did. And it may turn out to be even more addictive. Lord knows I start before 7:00 p.m. every day!

Learn magic. I don't know about you, but the words "how did you do that?" spoken with intensity and sincerity are among the most gratifying in the human language to me. A guy who can juggle and do magic will soon be holding in thrall nieces, nephews, and other assorted young 'uns, as he amazes and astounds them with his talents. Also, I secretly hope that understanding the secrets of the deceptive art of magical illusion will give me insight into the deceptive arts of politics and religion, where my other dark interests lie.

Learn spoken Portugese. My friend who accompanies me on my afternoon walk around the walking track at work grew up in Brazil as member of a missionary family. What better way to keep the conversation flowing than to learn his other first language?

Improve my Shower Experience. I'm going to make my wife start keeping her Skunk Juice Soap on the back of the toilet, so I don't have to smell it when I take a shower.
*****************************************************************
My goals for the New Year look more like this....

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Graduate!!! I've worked so long and hard and this is the homestretch. If all goes well, I will graduate in May!! Woohoo!!

Get a new job as a nurse!!! Our financial situation requires that I go back to work and I will finally be able to...but this time doing what I have always wanted to do.

Lose the 20 lbs that I gained over the last several months!!!I threw out the Tapazole that they gave me for Graves Disease that made me gain it. If I can live without it, then 'no thank you!'

Begin learning to speak Spanish. I've always wanted to learn and I think that it would be beneficial to know for working in the health field as well as knowing for communication purposes in general.

Begin attending the Bipolar support groups in support of the members of my family that are Bipolar. People with disorders like this need all the help they can get and it is helpful to know that they are not the only ones that suffer from it as well as having a strong supportive family.

Support my husband as much as I can with the changes that he is making. He was wonderful when he laid down the cigarettes with me when I decided to quit smoking almost two years ago in support of my decision. He has also supported my decision to go back to school and pushed me all of the way. I want to offer that same kind of support for him and hope he can be as successful or more successful than I have been thanks to him.
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I really am interested to see his reaction when he sees that there are no magic tricks, illusions, or delusions that draw people into worshiping God though. It's something inside us that draws us to church before they ever even begin preaching to us. We begin our search sometimes and find God without ever stepping into a church or looking to a preacher.

Posted by Barbara at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2004

Interesting Thought

I received an e-mail today and I found it quite humorous after the debate I just had on another blog. Yes, I have a twisted sense of humor! This is what it said...

For those who say a fetus is not a baby, well, this one was.

Stolen Fetus Recovered After Mom Slain
Woman Charged; Father Reunited With Baby, Which Is in Good Health
By MARGARET STAFFORD, AP

I know that still doesn't answer the question of when a baby becomes a baby instead of a fetus during the gestational period and when it is able to feel pain and when it has enough of a brain to perceive anything or anything like that, but it was interesting. AND since this IS MY BLOG, I will express my opinion. God said that he knew us when we were conceived. If my life was in danger and I had other children to think about, I might consider one after intense prayer. We never know what we will do until we are in the situation really though.

That's all for now. :o)

Posted by Barbara at 08:24 PM | Comments (1)

December 16, 2004

Finally Christmas Break!!

Finals are over for the semester, I have a month off, the tree is finally up, my laundry is getting closer to being caught up, and I am about done with the shopping. Now, I can wrap gifts, clean the house and breathe a little as I blog, babysit my neice, and begin studying for next semester.

There have been so many things going on in my life lately. It still amazes me that anyone can go on in life without faith in God and remain sane. I rely on God to get me through everyday. Many people think that is weak and that I use God as a crutch. Yes I am and yes I do! :o) I am glad that I can even though I am not worthy.

I am not at the point yet, but I am on my way...I want to get close enough to the Lord to understand the concept of 'peace that surpasses all understanding.'

Posted by Barbara at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2004

Hello Everyone

So, I'm not the most thrifty with my time. I don't juggle kids, husband, school, housework, homework, clinicals, wrestling matches, doctor's appts, shopping, blogging, studying, laundry, etc very efficiently. If I did, I'd post more often, right?! That's okay!! I will post so much over Christmas break that you will be glad to see me slack off again!!

I did want to let everyone know that I am still alive and still have intentions of blogging. I have some entries in the works but not ready to post. One is on atheism (my opinion of course) and a couple are on bipolar disorder. Hopefully, I will be able to post them soon. I am studying hard for a test on Thursday and final exam shortly afterwards.

Wish me luck!!

Posted by Barbara at 07:42 PM | Comments (1)

November 01, 2004

Making decisions

I 'think' that I have finally found out what is causing my pain and it has left me having to make a huge decision. I will have to make this short and sweet because I have decided to make my life busy. :o)

My pain is coming from a herniated disk in my back. That is not good for a nursing student. However, my nursing instructors are exceptionally wonderful and my classmates are tops. I have two more weeks in the hospital for clinicals and then I go to do my psyche rotation. For the next two weeks, my instructor is going to give me ambulatory patients so I don't have to lift anyone and my classmates are going to help me out to give me time to heal.

I don't know what my options are yet for recovery because I don't see the specialist until the 16th. I DO know that today was the last day to drop and get my money back for the semester. I just couldn't make myself do it though. I have had so many procedures done this semester and pushed myself to go right back to class and clinicals in pain. I have tried so hard to push through and make it. I just can't see letting all of that pain and effort be for nothing...ya know? I've just got to make it through this semester!!

Say a prayer for me! And also...if any of you need prayer, leave a comment. Either state your prayer request or ask for prayer for a silent request and I will put your request in our prayer box at church and I will pray for you too!

God bless everyone and have a great day!!

Posted by Barbara at 03:38 PM | Comments (1)

October 30, 2004

Good Morning!

Hello everyone! It is the weekend! Thank the good Lord! It is time to close myself in and study. Yeehah!! I have been fussed at for not posting enough...and rightfully so. I apologize to everyone that has been just hanging on the edge of their seats to see what exciting tidbit I will come up with next. :o)
Seriously though, I am sorry to have neglected the site for so long.

Today I want to post about how we are supposed to treat one another. This is a subject that comes easy for some and not so easy for others. One of my children is so sensitive that he is always thinking of how his actions will affect other peoples feelings and my other son has to be constantly reminded by saying things like, "What would you feel like if someone said that to you?" Could it possibly be a genetic thing? I say that because one is adopted and they were both raised in the same atmosphere. Who knows? Maybe it is just the difference in personalities?

Anyway, the Bible says, Matt 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

Mat 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

and...Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil.

and...Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

and Matt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

and...John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

and...Lev 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.

I don't know EXACTLY why I felt led to post on that, but I did...so I did. I hope that everyone has an especially blessed weekend.

Posted by Barbara at 03:22 PM | Comments (2)

October 14, 2004

Two Down Three to Go!!

I have been unable to post lately due to surgery, school, clinicals, and studying for "the test." I took the test that I was so worried about today and I made a 'C.' Many, many did not pass it so I am thanking the good Lord for my 'C.'

My surgery has been done and I am a new person. Other than some bothersome soreness and air bubbles that need to go away, I'm great! The flank pain is gone and as a bonus, the nagging dull backache that I thought was from a curvature in the spine is gone too. Needless to say, it wasn't that at all. I truly have so much to be thankful for.

Nursing school, teenagers, church, pets, a house, etc is a lot to keep up with so my posts have been so light...especially with a couple of surgeries added to my plate. I apologize for this and can only say that I hope life is kind enough to me to allow time to blog an entry a day...or at least every other day.

Tomorrow.....?? Come back and see!!! ;o)

Posted by Barbara at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2004

Hallelujah!!!

They found the problem!! I get to be relieved of my pain!! If I wasn't hurting, I'd dance a jig!!

I will be having surgery again this Friday. This time is isn't exploratory though. It is to remove the source of my pain. I will only have to have a laparoscopy and a very short recovery time. I won't even have to miss any school if all goes as expected! No more pain! No more whining! No more terrible, mind-fogging pain medications!! Woohoo!!

I can hardly wait! I can clean my house, wash my car, and so many other things that I haven't felt like doing and has just progressively gotten worse. Most of all, I will be able to concentrate on other things without having to try to get past the pain. Studying will be so much easier.

The Lord is good to me!

Posted by Barbara at 09:13 PM | Comments (3)

September 29, 2004

Process Recording

On our psychiatric rotation in nursing school we do what is called a 'process recording.' We talk to the patients, then we write down a portion of our conversation with them listing in one column what they said, then in another column how we replied. Then we have another column wher we are supposed to evaluate whether or not we used therapeutic communication when we read back over our conversation. If we did not, then we are supposed to write down what would have been an appropriate response (what we should have said.)

This is a very effective exercise. I have looked at them and thought, 'Man! What was I thinking when I said that?' or 'Geez! I'm stupid!' It is amazing how often we say things without thinking. I think that I am going to start using these process recordings at home. When a conversation goes sour, just stop before it gets heated, go type it out, print it, then get the kid that I was having the conversation with to look at it with me and tell me what is wrong with it and what could have been said to make it go more smoothly. Who knows? Maybe this will even help me to see where I went wrong and should have said something else. I think that it is worth a try. I will let everyone know how it goes!!

If it is a success, maybe I will even try it on my husband! What do you think? :o)

Posted by Barbara at 06:35 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2004

It's a girl!!

Kara Nicole is finally here!! Congratulations John and Amy, she is beautiful!

Mr Smijer already used the best picture that I took of her because he doesn't know how to use a camera!!! So I settled for these. She's so pretty that she looks good in all of them though. :o)

Picture024.jpg

Picture019.jpg

Now I have two little girls to spoil! Miss Emily and Miss Kara! Oh happy day!! Can you imagine the tea parties? :o)

Posted by Barbara at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2004

Nursing School

I have a big exam tomorrow. I hate nursing exams! I absolutely hate them! I would rather take a beating, be sick, fight with my ex, give an enema, or any number of terrible things that I hate to do rather than take a nursing exam and wait on the grade.

When I was accepted into the program the first time, I was an honors student, on the Dean's list, etc. My goal was to graduate with honors. My goal now is to just graduate. The nursing program gives you a whole new perspective...at least many of them do. I have heard many horror stories. At least there is a reason behind the madness at ours. It is a two year RN program and requires a lot of information to be crammed into a short period of time. The pressure is intense! I'm often wondering if it is worth all of this. Afterall, I already had a career. I quit it and went back to school. However, I always wanted to be a nurse and I was getting too old to chase that dream if I didn't run quick.

So here I am, sitting in the classroom with all different ages of women and men, but mostly women in their twenties asking me for advice on how to cook a roast in a crockpot, how to cure diaper rash and making me feel old & wise. And if that isn't depressing enough, I'm not making A's and I'm watching my GPA plummet!

Hopefully I will survive the nursing program without dying from some severe anxiety disorder.Then I can graduate and put RN behind my name so I will have another job to complain about like all other nurses I've met. At least I can be proud to say that I survived nursing school. Anyone that KNOWS what that means will have the highest respect for me until I die!

Posted by Barbara at 10:47 PM | Comments (4)

September 20, 2004

Bible Contradiction?

I receicved an e-mail from someone that read......

Tell me what it says (this has always been one of my favorites, for some reason):

Galations 1:16-20 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called [me] by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

Acts 9:23-28 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let [him] down by the wall in a basket. And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought [him] to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.

My reply was.......

The things described in Acts 9 and Acts 26:20 had to do with a very early visit to Paul to Jerusalem about three years after he was saved. The reference in Galations 1:20 was a reference to a period that lasted nearly fourteen years (Gal. 1:18 with 2:1). The churches that assembled and grew in Judaea AFTER Paul's first visit (Acts 9:28) had never seen Paul's face.

To which he responded????

I think you need to read Galatians again. You don’t have to use your imagination to figure out the timing of Galatians. Why doesn’t Galatians just mean what it plainly says about when Paul is talking about?

Am I alone on missing his point entirely? What am I missing? What is he missing? Any input on the view points?

Posted by Barbara at 09:43 PM | Comments (8)

September 19, 2004

Light Posting

I have been neglecting my duties of blogging. I have been rather occupied with studying for a test, kidney stones, problem teenagers, trips to the ER and doctor, and other little annoying things. However, I am hoping to be back on track soon and driving whoever dares to look insane again. :o)

"Now, therefore," says the Lord,
"Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping,
and with mourning,"
So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
(Joel 2:12-13)

Posted by Barbara at 10:02 PM | Comments (1)

September 15, 2004

Quotations

From his cradle to grave a man never
does a single thing which has any first and
foremost object save one--to secure peace
of mind, spiritual comfort, for himself.
--Mark Twain

Peace is not an absence of war,
it is a virtue, a state of mind,
a disposistion for benevolence,
confidence, justice.
--Benedict Spinoza

Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
--Psalm 30:5

Dance and game are frivolous, unimportant down here;
for "down here" is not their natural place. Here, they are
a moment's rest from the life we were placed here to live.
But in this world everything is upside down. That which, if
it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest
that which is in a better country is the End of Ends, Joy is
the serious business of Heaven.
--C.S. Lewis

Posted by Barbara at 09:49 PM | Comments (4)

August 31, 2004

Frustrated

I had a huge post typed out on why some people believe and others don't. The internet went out and I lost it all. I'm just too tired to start all over with it right now. I need to be studying and I need to be in the bed at the same time.

Maybe it wasn't meant for me to post anything this week. I have had so many great ideas, started so many posts, and either couldn't finish them or felt like I shouldn't and gave up on it. Maybe I am supposed to keep the conflict down this week, or maybe I am supposed to just be concentrating on family and school since we have had so much hit us in the last week.

I hope to have an interesting post Monday though. We get back from encounter on Sunday. We (a group of Church of God women) are going for a weekend in the woods to have an encounter with God. Doesn't that sound interesting? And you can quit laughing now Jerry. :o)

Posted by Barbara at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2004

Believing is Healthy

Okay....here is a reason to believe that even my atheist husband has to embrace to some extent. It is actually healthy to believe and pray. According to recent studies as shown on WebMD, being spiritual and religious can make you healthier and add years onto your life.

In addition, as shown in the same article, a controversial study was done on prayer done for others without their knowledge (intercessory prayer) and was found to have some bearing on the success of their recovery. And yet another article that has similar findings can be found here.

I don't know about you guys, but going to church and having fellowship with other Christian people and experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit makes me feel better. Won't the skeptics and unbelievers be glad to know that we now have another reason to attend church and worship? :o)

Posted by Barbara at 10:40 PM | Comments (3)

August 12, 2004

"I Am Happy Every Hour of the Day"

I borrowed this quote from John Merrick, the Elephant Man. He found happiness in spite of his horrible affliction. How many of us could if we were in that situation?

I, on the other hand, have everything to be grateful for. I have a few little gnawing problems that get me down once in awhile. Who doesn't? But still, I can honestly say, that I am happy. I have truly been blessed.

I will have Ms Emily again today! More smiles, giggles, da-da-da-da's, and funny faces. Who wouldn't be happy? :o)

Hopefully, I will have time for a more serious entry tonight?

Posted by Barbara at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2004

Afraid of Church?

Is it possible that some people are afraid of church?

I have been trying to get my step-dad to go to church with us. He keeps saying that he hasn't lost anything there and he isn't worried about his salvation. He believes in God and thinks that he can worship just fine from home. He thinks that the church is just full of hypocrites and there to take your money. He makes fun of our church when given the chance and he has never even attended the first service. Of course, he does it light-heartedly, but still refuses to even go and see what makes me and Mom want to continue going. My husband, the atheist, has been several times himself and would go again and again if he really thought that I wanted him to even though he wouldn't want to attend regularly.

I might be wrong, but I really think that he'd enjoy our church if he went. Maybe that is what he is afraid of. But why? Is he afraid that he'd have to eat some words or admit to something he doesn't want to admit to? :o) Men!! I've tried every trick in the book that I know of to try to get him to attend just once. I've asked him to go just once for me, I've offered to take him to lunch, promised to never bother him again if he goes one time..... Any other suggestions other than praying?

Posted by Barbara at 04:25 PM | Comments (2)