Monday, April 30, 2012

Jehovah Rapha

At the beginning of the year, I started reading through a devotion book based on the Names of God.  I'm also getting ready to start a Bible study called "Knowing God by Name."  His many different names all describe a character trait, and knowing Him by name means that I am better able to seek Him.  After all, He knows me intimately...

As many of you know, last week Caleb fell at school and hurt his knee.  As a nurse, I usually don't get too concerned when Caleb gets hurt.  (If it's not profusely bleeding, it's probably ok.) However, when I got to school, his knee was twice the size of the other one, with a large bruise on the top of it.  Instinctively, I knew this time it was something to be concerned about.

Dr. Plumb wasn't in the office but Dr. Hamilton saw us and ordered an x-ray.  He looked at it and told me he thought there was an avulsion fracture.  He called UK and told me to go get a knee immobilizer.  A knee immobilizer?  That's going to keep Caleb still... anyway, off to KRMC and the PT department we went, and strapped that knee in.

The next day, the radiologist had looked at the x-ray and saw an area of concern.  It was going to be almost a week before they could get us in at UK, so Dr. Hamilton went ahead and set us up for an MRI in Hazard. That was probably the longest 35 minutes of my life... and Caleb's. He did manage to lay still, though, and complete the test.  A trip to Walmart and church made for a very tired boy, but he was determined to go to school the next day. And determined to go to his aunt's graduation on Friday.  And his cousin's wedding in Tennessee on Saturday, and a trip to the Titanic Museum (complete with a climb up the Grand Staircase) on Sunday. 

Through all of this, I posted statuses on facebook asking all my friends to pray. Caleb prayed.  My family prayed.  My church family prayed.  Caleb is such a loving child (even though he can be selfish sometimes, and hateful, he truly has a heart of gold and loves so much).  He had been diligently praying for Rosa since her car wreck, (and go ahead and send up a prayer for her tonight... she starts Outpatient Therapy at Cardinal Hill tomorrow), and he told me, "Mommy, Rosa had faith, and look what God did for her.  He can fix me, too, I  just have to have faith."  Big words for such a little guy... but he's prayed every night.  Oh, he's questioned and cried and even screamed a little.  But every night, he's thanked God for his blessings.  He's asked Him to heal him. 

So today, we headed to UK.  I was prepared for the worst, but praying for the best.  The MD looked at the films and then examined Caleb.  He had good range of motion in the knee, was able to bend it and straighten it and put some weight on it.  No torn ligaments.  The MD saw where they thought the avulsion fracture was, but said that with the range of motion Caleb had, he didn't see how it could be that.  He gave us a prescription for physical therapy, said for him to wear the knee immobilizer until he had full range of motion and full weight bearing, and sent us on our merry way.

Could those x-rays be wrong?  Maybe.  I'm choosing to believe that what I've known all my life is true... Prayer works, and my God is a healer.  25And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
26And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee."- Exodus 15:25-26.  The LORD that healeth... Jehovah Rapha.  My El Shaddai... because His grace is ALL sufficient. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Birthday Wishes and Wedding Bells

When you're around someone for over 15 years, you kind of get used to them.  Take them for granted, even.  Then there are times when you stop and see them with new eyes, or are reminded of the past that you shared, and it makes you realize how much they mean to you. 

Today is Wallace's 36th birthday.  We've been together since 1996, and married since 1999.  I don't want to recount our shared history together, but there's been a lot of memories, good and bad.  I also know many of his stories from before I was around... like the time he shot the ball in the wrong goal to give Cordia a win, and all of the fights he was in during high school, and how he loved to go squirrel hunting with his Dad.  Stories from his Mom about things he did when he was little (I won't share, because they are really quite embarrassing.  And I need some blackmail material.) Stories of chess games and baseball games and throwing soup cans down the aisles of Food Fair as a bagboy.

This weekend, we spent his birthday in Gatlinburg.  We attended a beautiful wedding yesterday (Congrats, Tab and Glenn!) and then got Caleb settled in the room with Nana and Papaw to rest his leg, and Wallace and I went on a walk.  We went on our honeymoon in Gatlinburg.  We got in our first fight in a Books a Million parking lot (imagine me in a bookstore) because Wallace had locked the car keys up and it started snowing.  (We've come a long way in conflict resolution... sometimes).  As we walked the strip, we shared some good memories. 

Today, we watched Caleb's eyes light up as he toured the Titanic Museum.  The good Daddy that he is, Wallace bought Caleb stuff on his own birthday.  We shared an ice cream cake and laughed about our first "real" married fight, over french fries. I'm reminded that I may get mad, but I'm not as fiery as I used to be.

I know Wallace doesn't read my blog, but for those of you who do, please wish my man a Happy Birthday.  He has his faults, but everyone does, and I love him even more for some of those.  Hope to spend many, many more birthdays with you!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Heart of Gratitude

Today I really don't know what to write about.  I feel like I was emotionally bankrupt after last night, so I guess I don't have anything philosophical to write about tonight... so I'll just talk a little about what I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful that it is almost the end of the semester. I'm thankful for a wonderful group of students that are getting ready to graduate and make wonderful nurses.  I'm thankful for a group of students this semester and last that have stuck with us through trying out online courses and are loads of fun to be around.  They try their hardest, and are going to be awesome nurses!  I'm also thankful for the promise of another semester... I always love the new students because they are brand spanking new... and full of excitement.

I'm thankful for my family... All of my family.  I'm so blessed to have a wonderful husband, an extraordinary son, parents who are the best, sisters who have tolerated me, and in-laws who are much more than that. 

I'm thankful for apple fritters last weekend from the Apple Barn in Pigeon Forge, and ice cold Diet Coke in bottles, and more books to read than I could ever find time to finish.  I'm thankful for another breath... for a smile even when I am aggravated, and for this mess of my life that I've been blessed with.  Thank You, Lord... help me never to take it for granted. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Growing up is Hard to do... On Everyone Involved

Tonight is Breathitt's graduation. I thought I'd go ahead and write while I was able to put some thoughts together.  I'm afraid I'll be a blubbering mess after tonight.  Time goes by so quickly...

It doesn't seem like that long ago that Mom told us she was pregnant.  We all wanted a boy.  Instead, we got Kami.  Chubby cheeks, big old eyes.  I loved her so much.  This baby girl changed our lives.  She had this cute little giggle... many times I've sat and just listened.  She loved dressing up and jewelry and makeup.  She liked tea parties and Barbie dolls.  She was beautiful. She was dramatic.  She was our princess, and we were her royal court. 

As she walked down the aisle at my wedding, she did so in her usual flair.  Bright brown eyes shining, she'd slowly wipe the tears away from her cheeks.  "Kam, what's wrong?" I asked her after it was over. "You're leaving..."

And I was, but only to the backyard.  She's made many trips from Mom and Dad's to our trailer, then the doublewide, and finally the house.  I've watched her grow from a curious little girl who helped me study my anatomy terms to a beautiful, smart, caring young woman.  As I listened to her rehearse her speech tonight, I sat with tears in my eyes.  Now, she's the one leaving.  Rationally, I know it's not forever.  And we'll have this summer together.  And it's not like UK is another country... but still. 

Last summer's Governor's Scholar helped us adjust.  Still, as she finished that speech, Caleb got up and made his way to the other room.  "Bye, Kami!" He yelled as she headed out the door.  Then my baby came and sat in my lap and buried his head in my shoulders... tears running down his face.  "Caleb, what's wrong? Why are you crying?"

"Because she's leaving, Mom..."

Graduations are a natural process... if you're there tonight you'll hear her tell you all about it. This little girl that cried as I graduated from a single sister to a married one, the same little girl who cried as her brother-in-law packed her down the hallway to the nursery because she had graduated from being the baby to an aunt.  And graduations are happy times, too... because we know the future is bright.  This class of 2012 can do anything they want to do.  Still, there's that bittersweetness...

Go with God, Kami Busybeth.  I am so very proud of you, and always will be.  Shine like the star God made you to be.  And I'll be here in the background, cheering you on... because that's what big sisters do.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Storms? What storms?

Today I spent a long day in the nursing lab.  I dropped Caleb off at school and hung out there grading care plans and other assignments.  I had some students come in and finish lab time... finishing up this semester.  Only two more exams for them... one more for me to administer.  Then  a week of meetings, and a week of cleaning up my office (Lord, help me!) and I'll be done for the summer.  The end of the semester always means preparing for the next, and I've been meeting with advisees getting them signed up for their nursing classes.

Tonight I had appointments with 3 of those advisees. About 4 PM, one of them called and said that she wasn't sure if she'd make it to meet with me, that there was a tornado warning... A tornado warning?  What? Where had I been?  It had been beautiful last time I had been outside.  From my vantage points, it looked like we had some clouds, but not a bad storm.  After I hung up, though, I found out that there had indeed been a bad storm in Breathitt County, and that the skies were darker than they appeared.

Vantage points... it's all about how we look at things. Sometimes all we can see are the storm clouds around us. Sometimes we can't see that other people are going through storms, because we are basking in the sunshine.  We must look around... try to look at things from different perspectives.  Not so we can dwell on the storms, but so we will be looking up when the rainbows appear.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

To the Beat of a Different Drummer

My Caleb is a real trooper.  I never really realized it until today.  Today he has gotten up and down and up and down and up and down.  He's become a pro on the crutches in just one day, scaring me with how fast he can go.  He's not quite got the hang of looking around him, though... causing him to sit it down on my foot a couple of times.  He has learned to scoot into Mamaw's van, in and out, and how to hop up the steps.

During the MRI, he had to lay still for about 30 minutes.  If you know Caleb, you know this was a difficult feat.  He did okay... until about halfway through I noticed his shoulders were moving a little bit.  And his head.  Back and forth... kind of like you do when you listen to a good song on your Ipod.  "Mama, I kind of like this beat.  It reminds me of a drum."

So we are tired.  An MRI.  A trip to Walmart, where he wheeled himself around in a wheelchair where the leg came off.  A battle to get back in Mamaw Karen's van, where he said, "I know this is going to hurt when I get in that seat.  I just have to get over it." A trip to church.  And now, laying on the couch, struggling with getting comfortable.  Praising God because he can at least move a little. 

Keep on praising, Caleb Bates.  Keep on marching to that beat in your head.  God loves you so much, and so do I. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Bum Knee

I am not a good patient. Nor am I a good mother to a patient.  Any of my fellow nurses out there know what I'm talking about??? Please tell me yes so I can be assured that I'm not the only one...

Today, at school, Caleb fell and hit his knee.  Wallace called me and told me I might want to come on up, that it looked "a little swollen."  Um... a little?  The poor thing had a huge hematoma on the top of it, was bruised, and swollen.  And so what did this nurse do??? Panic a little... um, yes.  After all, this is my baby here... and in that case all my training went out the window. 

Once we got to the doctor's office, an x-ray was done and Caleb was wheeled to an exam room (He wanted to wheel himself).  He asked all the right questions, like "Do I have to go to school tomorrow?".  He texted his friends and played on Facebook while we were waiting for Dr. Hamilton to call UK.  An avulsion... hopefully tendons are ok. 

On the way to the hospital to pick up a knee immobilizer, Caleb asked if it could be signed like a cast.  He asked if he would get to walk on crutches.  He asked how I would get him out of the car. 

Tonight hasn't been easy.  Caleb is an active child to say the least, so being confined to the couch hasn't been fun.  He's cried because it hurts... but he's also been a trooper.  I am so proud of him.  He makes me smile.  He's been up and down on crutches, and is finally figuring it out. He's a little upset because I told him I was keeping him home from school tomorrow... but I figure one day to lounge around won't hurt him. 

I'm realizing it could be worse.  I could be dealing with this every day... so many families out there struggle with terminal illnesses.  With kids with handicaps.  With kids who have behavioral problems or other issues.  I've been so blessed. 

Thank You, Lord, for my blessings.  Help me take care of this one sitting next to me on the couch.  Keep him safe and give him healing, because You are good and great and powerful. You are Jehovah Rapha... The God that Heals.  El Shaddai... the All-Sufficient.  And while You're blessing us, bless all those who go through this every day. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Today is a Monday

So, just in case you didn't know, today is Monday.  And it felt like Monday, all day long...

Got to the office with lots to do, so much to do that I didn't know where to start. So I sat on my email and facebook until  it was time to go give my exam (yes, I was wasting company time.  And I apologize for it, I really do... but when your head is so overwhelmed sometimes you don't know how to get started... so for the procrastinators at heart, you become paralyzed and do nothing instead. I'll make up for it tomorrow.)

It was Monday because I made out my to do list for tomorrow.  Didn't look too bad, all things considering.  On Mondays, I like to look ahead at the entire week and see what needs to be accomplished.  This week, there's clinical stuff to grade, grades to calculate, student advising sessions before the HESI next week, student advising sessions to get new students registered for fall classes, discussion boards to read, and filing... maybe the filing can wait.

It was Monday because it was cool outside.  It was Monday because I felt out of sorts, even though I am supposed to be a Woman of Joy.  I'm reminded that Mondays are tough because they come after the weekend, the time when we are refreshed and rejuvenated (if you are lucky.  Or the time when you run, run, run more than you do during the rest of the week and you look forward to Monday because you can shut your office door and just veg for 15 minutes... not that that ever happens).  So, yes, I was out of sorts.  I'm feeling the pressure of the end of the semester, and in times of pressure, I get overwhelmed and shut down.  I forget that God has it all covered, and that He is going to work it out for the good.  He's much better at the whole planning thing than I am... after all, He created the whole world in 6 days and took a day to rest.  I'm thinkng He can handle working up my to do list.  And helping me to accomplish what is most important on said list.

So yes, today is Monday. And I'm grateful.  I've got a job to go to, a car to drive, and a family to come home to.  I've got good students who are just as stressed as me (if not more so), but still dig in and do what needs to be done.  I've got good coworkers.  And I've got the ultimate Day-Planner, One that knows what I need to do before I even write it down... and can always remember even when the list gets misplaced.  Thank You, Lord, for Mondays.  Give me strength to keep on keeping on =)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It is Well...

There's something about women.  We love.  We get angry.  We fuss and fight and quarrel.  We have passion... not that men don't, but let's just say we're the more emotional of the two genders.  And that passion is none the truer when all united to worship One God.  I had the priviledge of joining around 9000 other women at the Woman of Joy conference this weekend in Sevierville, Tennessee.  All different denominations and age groups, joined in one common purpose, praising and glorifying the Creator of the Universe, the Lover of our Souls, the Redeemer and Savior.  It is well...

Well with my soul.  Tonight, I'm full of joy.  I'm on the "mountaintop".  Sometimes we need a little time with women... time of laughing, crying, praising.  The weekend started out right Friday night... as those sopranoes and mezzo sopranoes and altos and those who couldn't carry a tune in a bucket raised their voice to the Most High God, some with hands upraised and others sitting weeping quietly, the echoes of the old hymn It is well with my soul echoed off the rafters and floated up to Heaven.  Something about that harmony made me think of my longing for Heaven...

It is well with my soul... My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
It may not be well with me... I may have a headache or a bad hair day or Caleb may be getting on my nerves or the house may be dirty or its finals week or I have what seems like 50 care plans to grade. On Earth, we will have trouble... but my sin is gone and is nailed to the cross.  I am made for an eternal home, and my soul can be well, even when everything is topsy-turvy. 

From lessons on imperfect progress and praising through the battle, to dancing on the battlefield, to being seen by a very visible God when we feel invisible.  Holding hands with women that I didn't even know, watching tears of joy as we sang Amazing Grace with Christy Nockells and knowing that Grace... free, precious, full... is real, and that I am so undeserving yet it is mine.  Laughing at Anita Renfroe and sharing time with three of my favorite aunts and a dear family friend... Chris Tomlin's How Great is Our God... Yes, tonight, it is well with my soul. 

Lord Jesus, thank You for this opportunity.  May I remain changed, and may it always be well with my  soul. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Be Happy

I'm no expert on happiness.  If you've read this blog enough, you know that being content is something that I struggle with.  However, I've been thinking about being happy in life today... because of a friend's facebook status, and something that happened today, and also because I read something Caleb posted on Facebook (on his advice page no less... and he has wonderful advice.) Here's what he wrote:
So had a bad day?Read this on "How To Have A Good Day" 
1.Wake up happy!Don't be sad because it's not the weekend...I'm ten and I go to school in a good mood!you should,too!
2.Eat a good breakfast!Breakfast truly is the best meal of the day!
3.Don't be nasty,brush your teeth and comb your hair (possibly take a shower before school.In the afternoon or mornings are the *Best times!)
  4.Pack a piece of gum in your lunch,that way when your done eatng your breath will still smell good!

That's the 4 easy steps to having a good day! ;)

How nice it would be if that was all it took to be happy.  I think I could handle eating breakfast, brushing my teeth and combing my hair, and chewing gum.  It's a little bit more difficult than that, but I think Caleb is getting the point. 

Happiness is a choice.  I read this on a friend's Facebook status, and it is so true.  Life isn't fair, we get hit with things we don't like... but that's life. 
If I was following Caleb, my steps to being happy would be:
1. Choose it.  Embrace it.  Look for reasons to smile.  Every day...  no matter how bad it is, there has to be something good in your life. You're breathing.  That's better than some people...
2. Make other people happy.  We don't do this enough.  In this world, we tend to focus on me, me, me, and forget about other people.  Oh, we're full of lip service, but when the rubber hits the road and it comes to sacrificing for others, we aren't so sure. 
3. Be flexible.  I dislike change as much as the next person, but one thing that I have learned as a nurse is that things are never going to go as you plan.  Seemed like most people code during shift change.  Got something planned after work?  You can bet something bad will happen.  You  have to adjust and make changes, and go with the flow.  I'm getting better.
4. Make yourself laugh and smile. Noone likes a gloom and doom person.  If you make yourself laugh, sooner or later it will be real. Fake it... at least then you aren't making other people miserable.

My realization in life about being happy really didn't come until I started seeking God's face.  I'm not going to go all religious on you here, but if you are truly miserable, He's the one who can give you joy.  He smiles at me everyday, and most days I smile back.  And on those days that I just can't, when I'm worn to the bone and just don't have anything else left, I know that there is a hope... this ain't all there is. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I used to be organized. My books were all in alphabetical order.  My closet was color-coordinated.  I knew where everything was at.  Then, I'm not sure what happened.  I really can't blame it on Caleb.  I really think my problem started in nursing school, and I've never recovered.

Today, I walked in my office at work for a brief 15 minutes and just stood there.  Because I've been working in the evenings, I've worked a lot from the nursing lab and from home (don't like to go to my office in the evenings.  The building is tooooo old... grin).  By not being in my office much, I've  just dumped. Books.  Papers.  Files.  Notes.  CPR Rosters.  Meeting agendas.  You name it, it is probably in my office floor.  Also, I went up for promotion, which meant that my usual notebooks had to be sorted through so that documents could be pulled, and you guessed it, those documents ended up in piles rather than back in the notebooks.  My office looks like there was an explosion. 

I always dread the end of the semester, just because it is so stressful.  So much to get done, grades to get posted, students anxious.  Then looking to the next semester... unit outlines to be redone because of new books, a syllabus and calendar to work up.  The work is never done.  This year, though, I am looking forward to something... I AM going to get organized.  I'm going to toss and shred stuff that can be shred, and properly file everything... so when I come back in the fall and need a paper, I'll know right where it is. 

Or I'll say, "Now where did I put that, and why did I put it there?" 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Heart for Eternity

"Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end."- Ecclesiastes 3:11

I finished reading You're Already Amazing by Holley Gerth today.  Such a wonderful read, and the videos that she did with Angie and Jessica on Incourage Me. com are great, too.  (Check out Bloom, their book club.)  Anyway, the last chapter was about being made for more.

How many times have I struggled through a day... busy, hectic, not looking up, worrying about crossing off my to do list only to see five or ten more things added on?  Exhausted when my head hit the pillow... hitting snooze on the alarm clock for just ten minutes more of sleep.  Grouchy and hateful and unsure of myself, always thinking "There has to be more to life.  I've got to do more... schedule more... BE more."  The truth is, yes, there is more...

We were made for more.  We were made for a perfect relationship with God, and then there was the apple.  A fall from grace, to grace... because God loved us so much.  Everything is beautiful in its own time... the garden was beautiful.  Christ's birth and death was beautiful.  My life is beautiful... but as Ann Voskamp describes it, sometimes it's an ugly beautiful.  Life is hard, but in the midst of those struggles, we are made new.  Beauty from ashes... in its own time.

Eternity in our heart.  Sometimes when I sit and think about heaven I am overwhelmed.  Can you imagine it?  I can't... no death, no tears, eternal praise.  All of those loved ones.  And all those who I can't wait to hear from- Ruth and Rahab and Mary, Paul and Peter and the beloved John.  My great grandparents and those elders in my church who have gone on.  Eternal rest... eternity in my heart.  And so when I am busting my butt down here, and things still seem to go wrong, I know that my disappoinment isn't just in present day problems.  It's because I want to go there... I need to go there.  To be with Jesus, forever. 

And even though we KNOW that we have that promise, and that it will be realized, we still don't fully grasp it.  We don't understand it from beginning to end.  That's why we continue to struggle, to do all we can, to find fulfillment in LIFE here, even though we seem like we are empty.  I've heard Beth Moore call it a "God-shaped hole", and that's exactly what we have... what we will have, until we cross over. 

As I've come to realize this, I'm more at peace.  No, I'm not perfect.  Yes, I still struggle with anger. I still lash out at Wallace and Caleb.  I still try to over commit, and then get mad at myself.  But I'm slowly finding balance.  I have to work, but there's time for play.  Things I volunteer are important to me, but so is reading my Bible.  Yes, I need to do laundry, but I also need to walk.  So tonight I walked with Caleb. I passed a football for thirty minutes.  I took a long bubble bath, and I'm going to go to bed before 11 PM tonight, so I can wake up rested for a busy day tomorrow. Got a test to work up, homework and clinical work to grade, a Relay newsletter and article to write.  Eternity may be in my heart, but I've still got to be accountable for down here.  And if I let God plan my day, He'll make joy even in the darkest moments.  Even in a fallen world.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why I'm A Good Daughter... Ha, Ha =)

I've always been a difficult child.  When I was a baby, my Mom and Dad had to ride me around for hours to get me to go to sleep (my sleeping patterns continue to bother my husband.  He's in bed by 10 or 11, I'd just as soon sit up until 2 or 3).  I was a picky eater, living on bean and bacon soup and cookie crisp cereal.  No veggies for this girl.  I was a drama queen in the worst way... this only worsened when Holly was born. I did not like being a big sister.  (I've gotten used to her, and kind of grown to like her... Grin.  But boy did she suffer!)

I was mouthy.  I complained. I talked back (majorly).  I stomped and slammed doors and was guilty of throwing objects a couple of times in my life (Again, sorry, Holly.  I really DIDN'T mean to hit you in the head with the glass Christmas ornament).

I'm not proud of my behavior.  When I look back now, I'd do anything to change it, yet I still catch myself mouthing off and complaining and back talking.  (Not necessarily to my Mom and Dad, or even out loud, but there's a running dialogue in my head. )

Today, though, as I was reading the Bible, I read about David and Absalam.  David, a man after God's own heart... who cursed his family because he let his eye stray to Bathsheba, got her pregnant, and then killed her husband "in the line of duty".  (You couldn't buy a better fictional novel on Amazon than this stuff... sounds like a Days of Our Lives episode to me...only better.  The redemption in this story is GREAT).  Absalam definitely makes me look like a golden child. He stole the throne from his father, had him hiding, then tried to have him killed.  So maybe my backtalking isn't so bad.

The point of my rambling is this... even God's best guy had troubles.  You may be having trouble with your child.  Or your parent.  Or your boss... it doesn't really matter who.  God is the One we can always run to. He loves us, shelters us, and is with us, even if we are hiding in a cave.  And apparently he helps us keep our cool, even in dealing with mouthy teenagers.  After all, here I am, living to tell about it.  (And paying for my raising.  Um... Caleb?)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Feeling Old

Turning 30 did not make me feel old. A lot of people have issues, but I honestly didn't.  I've never been one who has feared growing old.  Both sets of my grandparents have lived until their 80s (well, one is still 79, but he's still kicking), and even though I know that doesn't guarantee that I will live until a ripe old age, I figure I have pretty good genes.  I don't worry about looking old, really, either, because it is what it is and the Bible actually talks about gray hair as being a crowning glory.  To be honest, I never really thought about being old... until last night.

Last night I went with Wallace and chaperoned After-Prom.  I've done this several times before when he was working at Owsley County, and am amazed by my husband.  I know I have to say this because he's mine, but Wallace is just one of those guys that makes everyone feel comfortable.  Granted, sometimes his basketball girls don't like him because he can be a jerk, and he tells you what he thinks, but he does it out of kindness. He's the life of the party, and I think he has just as good of a time as the kids do.

Anyhow, now that I have bragged on how wonderful he is, we went up to Prom a couple of hours before we were scheduled to go to After Prom.  Oh, the joys of being a teenager, where your biggest concern is how to do your hair.  Every girl looks beautiful on Prom Night. There must just be something about the whole "Cinderella" story... those poofy dresses, and your hair swept up in an updo, and the fake nails... you know, the whole Princess philosophy.  It just makes me smile to think about it.  Bringing me to the first reason I feel old: it has been 15 years since I dressed up for prom.  I can remember it, though, like it was yesterday.  It doesn't seem like that long ago... but it was.  A lot of things have happened since then.  College, mortgages, vehicle payments, Caleb Bates... nothing that I would trade for sure, but still, to be young again...

When we got up there, Kami was there, hanging out with her friend Britt.  In her blue jeans, no less, out there dancing and having a good time.  So much more confident than I was at that age. Let me just brag a little on Kam now.  Besides Caleb, she is my pride and joy.  I love her so much.  She slept with me every night of my life until I got married. She helped me study for anatomy.  She's grown up to be an intelligent, beautiful girl, and I am so very proud.  When she was little, she loved Wallace (ok, she still loves Wallace). She had a picture of herself hugging him next to her bed, and she would tell everyone he was her boyfriend.  So last night, she got ready to leave, and then they started playing a slow song. She came back in, hair bouncing with that beautiful smile on her face.  "Dance with me, Wallace?"  And so there they were... my man and my best girl.  And I got a little teary eyed.  I'm a little teary eyed right  now. 

Things change.  People grow up.  Love remains... and I have to keep that in mind as she gets ready to go off to college, and Holly gets ready to get married, and Caleb grows up into a little man, and Wallace turns gray headed (yes, that's why he keeps his hair so short.  He says it's the Military, but now you know the truth...) Nothing stays the same, except love, which just grows with time if you cultivate it.  So I may be old, but I am loved. And love is the most important thing...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Run the Race

I am not a runner. I don't profess to be.  I'm lucky if I can walk 5K, much less run it (ok, I'm not in that bad of shape, and I actually enjoy walking when I can make myself get started.  It's the first step or two that is the hardest.) I'd love to be a runner.  I have tried C25K, and I've promised myself over and over again that someday, I will do it.  I will run... at least by the time I'm 40.  (I don't want to push myself too hard.)

Taking the first couple of steps is the hardest... maybe that's why the author of Hebrews compared our Christian life to a race.  In Hebrews 12:1-2, he admonishes us, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Runnig this race, we should remember:

1. The cloud of witnesses: To me, spectators is what makes a sporting event.  Of course, I'm also of the mentality that cheerleaders really do influence the outcome of a game, and this mindset may stem from the fact that I have never actually been an athletic competitor, but only a supporter on the sideline, but I think the author of Hebrews has the same mindset.  Ever been to a game with a true home court advantage?  Why do you think the Wildcats play so well at Rupp Arena?  Or that Duke (yuck...) does so well with those Cameron Crazies?  The crowd does influence the players. The author of Hebrews points out that as we are running our race, we should remember that we have others spurring us on.  We don't want to disappoint.  They are waiting for us to finish, cheering us on wildly.  We should also be cheering each other on. 

2. Get the weight off: Ok, ok... this is where I'm saying, but if I'm running, the weight will come off.  It's the weight that makes the running so hard. This is true.  Wallace usually runs at least 4 miles a day.  In the past few months, he's gone through a couple of pairs of running shoes. He makes me sick as he runs on the treadmill, while I'm sitting on the couch on Facebook.  He's disciplined, I'm not.  He's got where it is pretty easy for him.  If he was running with snowboots on, though, it might not be as easy (but I bet he could do it.  I've got that much faith in my man...)  The point is, we all have things in life that hinder us.  One thing that I thought of as I read this morning is comparison.  I'm bad for comparing myself to other people (case in point, I had to bring up me sitting on the couch while Wallace ran.)  We are all made differently.  Our races in life are different.  When a person is really racing, they have their own lane.  You've seen it happen... as long as they are running their course, they have the lead. Then, when they start worrying about where everyone else is, they start losing ground. Looking back hinders us.  Worrying about life hinders us.  There's a million things that may hinder us... he tells us to throw it off.

3. Sin ensnares.  You can't run with your shoes untied, you'll get tripped up.  We have to figure out what is bad and get rid of it before it entangles us.

4. Run with endurance.  This is what gets me.  I can walk fine.  I can run, for about 30 seconds.  Then I start huffing and puffing and actually sweating and feeling yucky.  Endurance is what I lack... I can't go the distance.  Jesus told us we'd have trouble.  Those times are when endurance kicks in.  In times of trouble, when we dig in and get the job done. When we hold our breath and hold on to God as tight as we can, knowing that He's all we've got to get us through.

5. Look to Jesus. This sums it up. He's already ran the race.  He's there to pull us along.  He wrote the course, knows the paths our life will take us. He's got it marked, even in the darkness.  He promised to be with us every step of the way. He endured.  He suffered.  He was shamed, and maybe even was considered a loser (to many, as He hung on the Cross. Despised and rejected).  He pressed on because He knew there would be a reward.  We have to do the same, knowing we will have an eternal reward.

Keep running.  It may be painful.  It may be difficult, seem impossible.  You'll get sweaty and have pulled muscles and get exhausted.  But, oh, my friend, it will be worth it.  Now if I could just find my running shoes....

Friday, April 13, 2012

Titanic Obsession

Tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.  I have always been fascinated by the Titanic.  I can remember watching footage of the wreck as a teenager, and of course watched James Cameron's movie numerous times.  Wallace and I were both excited about the movie coming out... it was hyped up with lots of movie trailers for months, and we went as soon as it was out in theatres.  Of course, I cried the whole movie, for Rose and Jack and the love that could never be, but also for all of those souls who were trapped... unimaginable.

Tonight I've sat with Caleb and watched three hours worth of documentaries.  Many of the things that have been said on these documentaries Caleb already knows.  You see, my son has a huge obsession... one of Titanic proportions.  If it's about the Titanic, he knows it.  He's watched youtube films and researched it online.  He's purchased books and read them, and has even written short stories about the Titanic. He knows the time the ship hit the iceberg (you just spelled iceberg wrong, Mom, as he looked over my shoulder and saw I had typed iceburg), he knows the number of survivors, and he can tell you what happened in the third class.  He knows all about the exploration of the site and can describe the Grand Staircase and knows the Captain's name.  He is a wealth of knowledge.

My little man may be a historian.  Then again, he's just as obsessed with the weather, so a meteorologist may be in the making as well. No matter what he decides to be, I know he's going to be good... because God's got him covered.  And God's grace is always sufficient... and His plans are perfect.  And apparently he may be a English teacher, because I just got told "Mom, you're just saying and too much. It's called a comma."  Love this boy next to me... I'm so blessed to be Caleb's Mom =)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

To Walk in Their Own Counsel

"But My people would not heed My voice, and Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, To walk in their own counsels." Psalm 81:11-12

When I was young, I was stubborn.  Ok, maybe I'm still stubborn, but I was really stubborn as a teenager.  I didn't like to listen to the good advice from my Mom and Dad.  I'm surprised my eyes didn't get stuck in an upward position from all of the eye-rolling I did.  As humans, we like to do it our way, regardless of the consequences.

God knows this, but He has a better way.  And He (Jesus) is the only Way.  God is a gentleman, and lets us make up our own mind.  He also is a God of second choices (and third... and fourth... and fifth... can I get an Amen? and a Thank You Jesus?) He is also a Jealous God.  And this verse really scares me... because I am so stubborn.

Basically, this verse says God got tired of dealing with the Israelites.  Now remember, these were His chosen people.  And He loved them so much that He... you know the drill.  Sent His Son, to His own people, but they received Him not.  Which is kind of good for us, because it means we can be grafted into His kingdom... but I digress. And jumped into the future... Sorry, back to those Israelites.  He saved them from the Egyptians and fed them Manna from Heaven (one verse called it Angel Food).  They grumbled. He told them He'd fight their battles for them and give them the Promise Land... they disobeyed Him and left their enemies in the country to plague them in the future.  He gave them judges yet they did as they saw fit.  They wanted a King, He gave them one, and still they complained.  So...

He gave them over to their own stubborn hearts, to walk in their own ways.  I'm shuddeirng a little now.  How often have I been stubborn with God, walking in my way even when there wasn't a path?  Stumbling and falling and begging God to come pick me up, only to dust off my bloody knees and continue on my own path?  Lord, please don't leave me to my own defenses. Search my heart and show me areas that may be stubborn.  Remove my pride.  Somedays I barely even know my own name... I sure don't need to be walking in my own counsel.  Give me wisdom to follow You.  And thank You for pursuing me... again, and again.  How awesome are You? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Guard Your Ways

" I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue.  I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle while the wicked are before me." Psalm 39:1

Guard my ways.  Restrain my mouth.  Yep, definitely two things I need to be doing.  Yesterday I told Caleb we were practicing the "Whatsoever" rule, based on Philipians 4:8.  It didn't last long.  It's hard not to grumble and complain. It's easy to spout off and say whatever we think, regardless of how it makes other people feel. It's easy to let our emotions run our tongue.  David knew this.  In the verse in Psalm, he was praying for wisdom.  Most of the time, the wise thing to do is keep our mouth shut.  Even if you know better.  There's nothing the world dislikes more than a know-it-all, especially one who doesn't really know anything. 

Help me, Lord, to think before I speak and to practice that whatsoever.  Give me restraint and wisdom... and in doing so, may I reflect mercy and kindness?  Cause on a Monday evening, there's  not enough to go around.  =)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chocolate, the Easter Bunny, and the Resurrection

Resurrection Sunday- a day for renewal, restoration, rejoicing and reflection.  Christ Jesus, triumphant over death, comes forth from the grave so that we can forever be with Him in Paradise.  We have the hope of a new life, a new body, a forever home.  We long for that... every one of us is set toward eternity and sometimes our stay on Earth is pure torture.  Life is tough, no doubt... but then there are days like today.

Waking up before dawn and thinking about what this day was like so many years ago. Mary and the other women going to the tomb to find the stone rolled back and Him missing... Jesus appearing to her alone.  "Go, tell the others."  Still our job... "Go, tell the others about me. Tell them with your words, but more importantly, tell them with your actions."

Church... The Message of the Cross.  A pew filled with my family, my Papaw in his 80s still leading songs and Grandma playing the piano.  Easter eggs and children running and laughing.  Jesus loves the little children,  "Let the little children come unto me."  "If you can't be like a child, you'll never enter in."  What does it mean, like a child... innocent, full of joy, humble and forgiving and loving.

Family get-togethers.  A cacophony of laughter and five stories going at once as we watch the NBA game on TV.  Papaw finally getting in the recliner and closing his eyes.  Caleb sassing and the girls laughing and life, happy, full... I'd like to freeze the moment because as I'm getting older I realize it won't always be like this. 

The Easter Bunny... not too long ago Caleb was hunting eggs and looking for the Easter Bunny, eyes wide as he made his way into Lisa's house.  Seeing Allie's ponytail hanging down and questioning.. but fully convinced when, as he sits and talks to Kami and Allie and the Easter Bunny comes back.  Eggs being colored and chocolate candy and laughter.. always laughter.

A trip home with hand holding and a stop to see the baby goats and an hour on the trampoline reading my Bible.  Talking with Kami and Holly and Warren and an hour long walk and a bubble bath.  Ending the evening with a talk with my best friend. 

Resurrection- "The act of rising from the dead... revival." Revival- "restoration to life."  Easter Sunday, time with family and friends, time in the Word... me, brought back to life, ready for another week. Thank You, Lord, for Resurrection Sunday all those years ago, and for the continued resurrection every day. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Day Between Friday and Sunday

Good Friday... a dark day that had to be.  Good because to us, it allowed us the opportunity to have eternal life.  Good because Jesus took on our sins, looked punishment in the face, and was separated from His Father so that I wouldn't have to be.  Good because the curtain was torn, and no longer was God just some higher Presence.  God no longer dwelled in a temple room; He could dwell in me.  In you.  In anyone who could believe.  Religion turned into a relationship, just as God wanted it in the garden all those years ago. 

Jesus had promised He would die, and then in 3 days rise again.  He faced death willingly, thinking of you and me.  He cried out, Father, forgive them.  For so long, I thought that He was talking about those who nailed Him to the cross, those who pierced His side, those who mocked Him and rejected Him.  Recently, though, it hit me.  He was talking about me.   Father, Forgive Lauren for when she is mean-spirited.  Forgive her for when she willfully disobeys, for when she gossips and when she refuses to turn the other cheek.  Forgive her for when she is jealous and hateful and just wrong.  Forgive her... I have her sin nailed down.  It is finished...

As He took one last breath, how did they feel?  His disciples, not knowing if they could really believe.  Sure, they had seen Lazarus come out of the tomb, but this was so final.  Darkness in the middle of the day, not knowing who they could trust.  Mary, His dear mother, chosen by God Himself as a young woman.  Oh, how she had loved that boy.  He had always been special.  He was chosen, and knew to be about His father's business.  No doubt she remembered the visit from the angel, the night in the manger, the fear she felt when she was separated from Him when He was 12.  Was this the end?  The final separation?  All those who followed Him.  They had been healed, demons cast out, shown perfect love when everyone else rejected them. Who would love them now?

Dawn on Saturday, a new day of wonderment.  Surely every hour drug by.  How they must have feared.  Would they be next, guilty by association?  Huddled together, not knowing what to expect.  Can a man they saw die really come back again?  They had watched Him, beaten beyond recognition.  They had heard the nails being driven into the Cross.  They had watched Him suffer.  They had denied His name themselves.  24 hours, full of fear, guilt, shame.  Loss.  Grief... and possibly a hint of unbelief? 

Yes, Friday was dark.  Saturday might have even been darker.  But oh, my friend... then came Sunday!  A stone rolled back, a tomb empty. Can you imagine their excitement, their rejoicing... their doubting.  Was this a trick?  Could it be that someone had stolen His body?  Ah, to be in that room when Jesus appeared... love shining out of His eyes.  Victor over death.  Our redeemer... the Word in flesh, made whole again. 

You may be facing dark times.  Remember, Sunday is coming, and with it will be redemption.  And we will see Him, split the Eastern skies, the Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.  Every knee will bow.  The government will be upon His shoulders, and His Kingdom will be everlasting. 

Hope your Easter is a special one.  Jesus loves us so much.  He'd love to visit with you at church on Sunday.  He wants you to get to be a part of that Heavenly Kingdom.  He's already paid the price. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Psalm 27- In the Land of the Living

The Lord is my light and salvation... light illuminating so I can see.  There are bound to be pitfalls and stumbling blocks, but He is there to light the way and pick me up when I fall.  He is my strength, when I am so weak on my own.  Why am I afraid? Who is there to be afraid of?  Is my God not stronger than anyone, anything?

They surround me, my enemies, those who hate me and whom I don't understand, and they are camped all around me.  I have no way out, but Him.  He is my confidence, through Him I will know victory.  My heart won't be afraid. 

I will dwell in His presence, because He dwells in me.  I am His tabernacle, and He is within me, so I will be able to be near Him.  His beauty radiates through me, to light up my way. 

He will hide me, so I don't have to hide myself.  I cannot hide from Him.  He knows where I am in my lowest times and my highest times, and He sets me up high, out of the reach of my enemies and those who wish to hurt me, even when I am unable to climb myself.  Especially when I am unable to climb myself. 

He lifts up my head.  I don't have to look down on myself or be ashamed.  Oh how I praise You, Lord.  Your love is great and because of it I am full of joy.  All praise, honor, and glory are Yours. 

Hear me, Lord.  I need mercy (I don't deserve it, but You give it anyway).  Please answer me... not in an audible voice, but in that still small voice that makes me know You are always there.  I'm seeking You, Lord, and You promised that I would find You.  That I could know You.  You are my help and will never leave me or forsake me, even when others might.  Even if everyone who loves me just stops, Your love is forever. 

Teach me, Lord.  I know that I'm not always willing to learn... but still You try.  Open my eyes and my heart to Your way.  Your way is a perfect way.  A plain path, laid out for me.  It's not an easy path.  It still has gravels and twists and turns but You are there to guide me. 

Deliver me, Lord. 

And here is my favorite part.  David says it best, "I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart, wait, I say, on the Lord."

We know good things come to those who wait.  We know that we have an eternal reward... but the best part is that the goodness of the Lord can be seen now, in the land of the living.  Not just there... but here.  Oh, taste and see... because He is good. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Best Job in the World

Today I am thankful for my job.  I just left the hospital after a crazy day of clinical.  I can remember those days, being overwhelmed because of patients and admits and discharges and medications and new orders and the need for urine samples.  Not even able to look up... today I about started hyperventilating, and none of the patients were even mine!  Nursing is a tough job, no matter how you look at it.  It's stressful physically, mentally, and emotionally.  After all, you are dealing with lives.  It always helps to have good coworkers, and the girls at the hospital are the best.

That being said, I love being a nurse.  I like listening to the patients and seeing them get better.  I like being the one to hold their hand when they are scared or worried.  I've seen some good patients, and some miracles happen.  It amazes me when I see kids I've had to send to Lexington out and about, or run into people in Walmart and see improvements.  In a small town, you always know your patients, or their families  or neighbors, so it's kind of like taking care of family. 

I also love teaching.  I love meeting new students and seeing their excitement when they learn something  new, when they finally understand a diagnosis or start their first IV or get a difficult concept.  I don't like grading, or testing, but those are things that I've learned to deal with.  I also hope that I am seen as a friend and not the enemy, a supportive person that has to make them work for their own good. Becoming a teacher was an easy decision for me, but it was also a pay cut.  I'm so thankful that God blessed me with a husband that is willing to work with me and be a true team, so that I can do what I love and get off in the summer with Caleb. 

And that brings me to my final point.  Nursing is great.  Teaching is great. But the greatest job in the world... "You are my mother."  That beats everything else.  I may not be the best.  I make mistakes every day, but having that little man wrap his arms around me and kiss me on the cheek makes all the hard work, all the long hours worth it.  Because I am his mommy... and there's nothing more wonderful than that! Thank You, God, for this blessing You  have given me.  He's Yours, on loan to me.  And I know You'll take care of him, because You're a parent, too.  Abba, Father... Daddy. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012


"So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”"-John 12:13.

I read on a couple of facebook statuses about today being Palm Sunday and April Fools day, and that God sent the foolish to confound the wise, such as the King of KIngs riding a donkey.  I don't profess to be wise, but this does confound me.  It amazes me.  That the King of King humbled himself to come to this earth and be despised and rejected for me.  As he rode that donkey, he knew his destination would be a dark and lonely time, a cross meant for sinners, the most shameful death imaginable.  As the people waved the Palm Branches and cried "Hosanna", he was not yet the Victor. He knew His future.  As they cried, "Save Now", he knew that He would save, but that many of them wouldn't accept it.  Instead, the crowd cheering Him on would turn into one yelling and mocking, crying, "Crucify Him, King of the Jews."  Yet He rode on.  He calmly spoke of the things His disciples could expect, but they did not understand.  Their eyes weren't open yet.  Their minds, like mine, could not comprehend a love that great.  I still can not comprehend, but I am so very grateful.  Sometimes my heart feels as if it would explode, because I thought I knew love, but it is a love that could never compare to His.

Can you imagine Him, riding into that city?  How His face would have almost glowed with a Heavenly countenance, He who was really nothing to look at?  He who was so glorious, hidden in the form of an imperfect man, yet perfect?  Love personified, God's Word made flesh.  His eyes must have radiated love, even to those He knew would reject Him.  Grace and mercy extended even as He faced the consequence of my sin, of your sin.  He knew... and He continued on.  Hosanna, Lord Jesus.  Save Now. We need a Savior, every day.  Save Now... and rule forever.