Thursday, February 28, 2008

A prayer covenant - anyone interested?

I just read a great idea for a prayer covenant. I think this is a great idea for a church, a Bible study, or group of friends. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Funny kids!

J & M have such active imaginations. When I came home from work yesterday, M ran to the door in a blue shirt and skirt and informed me that she was Wendy (from Peter Pan). J was crawling on all 4s in a dog costume. He could not answer questions about his day, he could only bark. He gave me a lick instead of a kiss.

M also tells us each day who is coming to visit her at night. Sometimes the yellow crocodile comes and jumps on her bed and tickles her under her chin. Last night the pink dinosaur was not coming to visit because he was sick with a headache and the hiccups. Sometimes a kitty visits and sleeps in her bed.

The kids also love to play with a toy nativity set. They take Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus to parades, car shows, and many other exciting activities.

A few nights ago, M wanted water (this happens every night - it is a stall tactic - when she is in bed she says she needs water). J said he would take her a cup of water. We have cups that have animals on them. J handed her a cup of water in bed and said, "Hold it with both hands so you won't spill it." Then he asked her what was on the cup. He asked if she was finished, and then she asked for more water. J said, "no, you don't need anymore." He sounded like an adult!

The Parting of the Red Sea According to a 2 year old

Mike bought a Bible book for the kids. Each night, we read a new story. A few nights ago, we read about the parting of the Red Sea. M asked why the people crossing the sea did not have on their "swimsoups" (translation: swim suits). I told her that they were not planning to go swimming and that God parted the waters so they could cross and stay dry.

The next morning at breakfast, M looked at me and said, "Will you part the waters of the pool please please please?" I explained that although I can do many things, I cannot part the seas, the waters of the pool, the waters of the bathtub, etc. Then she said, "only God can do that right?" I said yes.

Later M had the book in the living room and she was telling the story to J. She said, "All of the people forgot to wear their swimsoups so God made the wind blow really hard and parted the sea so that the people could walk through and not get wet."

Now you know what really happened. If the Israelites had worn swimsoups, we may have missed out on a miracle.

Pew Study

I heard a summary of this report on NPR. This is really interesting - you can search for numbers of people that affiliate with various denominations, or that are "unaffiliated". You can also look by map and in other ways. Check it out. However, be warned - the Pew survey seems to offer different numbers than some denominations currently advertise.

NPR emphasized that the study found that many Americans are NOT affiliated with the same religion of their parents, and that Americans tend to change their religious affiliation.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Long Time No Post

I've been really sick. I'm not sure if I only had a cold or something worse, but I've been sick for well over a week. It has taken all of my energy to work and keep up with the kids.

I generally don't do surveys, but my friend Kaylyn tagged me so I promised her my comeback blog would be this.

Four jobs I have had in my life:
-Working in tobacco fields
-Taping packs of cigarettes together and inserting a coupon for RJR's buy one get one free promotion
-Chemist in a Biochemistry Lab
-Attorney (clerk for a federal judge, in private practice, and now in-house for a hospital)

Four movies I could watch over and over:
-Shawshank Redemption
-Little Miss Sunshine
-Pans Labyrinth
-Lord of the Rings

Four shows that I watch:
-The Office
-48 Hours Mystery

Four Places I have been:
-New York

Four people who email me regularly:

Four of My Favorite Foods:
-Filet Mignon
-Dark chocolate

Four Places I would rather be right now:
-Hanging out with girlfriends
-A spa
-Traveling with my hubby and kids
-Riding my mountain bike on a great trail

Four things I am looking forward to in the next 12 months:
-Trip with Mom
-10 year anniversary
-Watching the kids change

Four Goals for the New Year:
-Keep exercising at least 4 days a week
-Pay off some debt
-Lose some weight
-Become more self-aware

Four Gifts I got for Christmas:
-new headphones (my old ones fell out of my ears at the gym)

Four places I want to visit: (traveling is one of my favorite things, so it is almost impossible to identify only 4)
-Australia/New Zealand
-Galapagos Islands
-Africa - for a safari

Four Things you might not know about me:
-I am a real geek (I love to learn about everything)
-I would love to own a Harley
-I took dance lessons for 13 years (ballet, tap, jazz, and I even had break dancing lessons once)
-I am good at Air Hockey

Four Things I wish I could be better at:
-Being carefree (I wish I did not worry and feel guilty so often)
-Being selfless
-I'd love to be a better mom

Four things I can cook without a recipe: (this is nearly impossible for me to answer - cooking makes me break out in hives)
-Scrambled eggs
-Pop Tarts

Musicians that I really like:
-Third Day
-Jack Johnson
-Dave Crowder Band

Drinks that I LOVE:
-hot tea
-cream soda

Now, I need to tag four people:
Mike, Melissa, Mal, Kristie

A beutiful story

As many of you know, my friend Anne just had a kidney transplant this summer because her cousin donated a kidney to her. This story is beautiful and reminded me how grateful I am that my friend Anne is alive and well.

Stranger Donates Kidney to Atlanta Girl
Posted: 2008-02-23 15:38:44
Filed Under: Health News, Nation News
ATLANTA (Feb. 22) - The picture of the smiling little girl on the flier was more than Laura Bolan could take. The 8-year-old on the pamphlet needed a kidney transplant, and Bolan knew she could help. She did a quick Web search on the surgery and talked it over with her husband. Then she made a phone call to offer one of her kidneys to Sarah Dickman.

The suburban Atlanta girl was born with the genetic disease juvenile nephronophthisis, which slowly destroys the kidneys. Without treatment, it can kill a child before the age of 15.

Bolan, 34, had never met Sarah when she agreed to donate the organ.

"It breaks your heart to know there's a little girl sick out there who you could help," Bolan said earlier this week.

The pair underwent successful surgeries Thursday at hospitals across the street from each other in Atlanta. Surgeon Dr. Thomas Pearson said both patients were doing well on Friday, and initial tests of Sarah's new kidney showed it was working normally.

Sarah was expected to be in intensive care for at least a day and then spend up to a week at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. She said she was looking forward to being free from a dialysis machine so she can spend the night at her best friend's house.

And when doctors remove her catheter, she can take bubble baths again because there will no longer be the risk of infecting the skin around the tube.

Best of all, she can go to Kangaroo Bob's, a children's recreation center with inflatable slides, mazes and obstacle courses.

"I'll get to go there on my birthday because I won't have this anymore," she said, pointing to the catheter.

Bolan was expected to return home after a few days at Emory University Hospital.

She first saw a flier about Sarah in September at the elementary school where two of her children are students. Sarah attends the same school.

Bolan knew she had the same blood type as the little girl, so she called the number on the flier that evening.

Sarah's parents, Lori and Joe Dickman, had added Sarah's name to a national waiting list for transplant recipients after learning that neither parent was a match to donate a kidney. The flier was just a shot in the dark.

The Dickmans received two calls from people interested in donating a kidney. Both were tested, and Bolan was the better match. The Dickmans were relieved because Sarah's condition was quickly deteriorating.

She was put on dialysis in September, the same month the flier went up. She often left school early because her failing kidneys made her exhausted and irritable.

"We definitely need more people like Laura in the world," Lori Dickman said.

Joe Dickman wants to add his name to living donor lists so that he can help someone else. It's the least he can do to repay Bolan for saving his daughter, he said.

"A thank-you doesn't fit for what she's doing," Joe Dickman said of Bolan. "She can call me at four in the morning for a gallon of milk. I don't care. I'm indebted to her for life."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Learning to say no and other random thoughts

I can't say no. However, I am learning. I've gotten myself involved in too many things. Of course, this was all done with the best of intentions. I've learned that it is easier to say no than it is to resign from activities that you've started and done for a while.

On another note, I am teaching the Salem Business Law class again this semester. However, part of this class is online. This is a new challenge - to try to have good discussions and interactions while using forums and chats.

We've been busy. It seems that we've had something to do every night for days now.

I wonder how a person stops worrying and feeling guilty? Most of my guilt and worry relates to my family, but I also worry about work, and other activities. I feel guilty sometimes because I feel pulled in so many directions, and I feel like work, kids, my husband, church, friends, etc. are all getting short changed because I am pulled in so many directions.

On being grateful - it can be tough. I think that focusing on my blessings is worthwhile, but sometimes it is hard to take the time to reflect. I guess that is a sign that I, like many other people, am too busy to really slow down and be mindful of my day to day life.

Getting What You've Always Got

My hubby is fond of saying, "If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got." I think this applies to exercise. I've been working out like a mad woman, but I fell into a routine of doing the same sprints, the same exercies, etc. each week.

I've been taking a cycle class that mixes things up. We've had a different instructor and he is a MACHINE! I've finally lost a few pounds. I guess the saying is right - if you keep exercising the way you always have you will get the same results.

My Guilty Pleasure

I was talking to a friend and she said something that struck me. She said, "You and your husband work so hard. You need to play more." For those that know me, you know that I am determined and focused. I generally work hard and try to use all of my time productively. I multitask, and I try to make the best use of every minute of my day. However, something about her statement made me want to play.

A few weeks ago, Mike bought a used guitar and the game Guitar Hero. He played all the time and begged me to play. I kept refusing (because I thought that I was "above" such immature games). One night Mike begged and I agreed. I generally stink at video games (our friend Jeremy has witnessed me go the wrong way in car races), but for some reason, this game came fairly easily to me. Plus it was FUN. We also got together with some friends and played Rock Band. I tried the drums (but they are hard), and I even sang. I got 99% on Vaseline and 100% on Interstate Love Song (I am a HUGE STP fan). It was fun to sing because I like to sing, but I am not good. I also love playing the guitar and bass.

The only drawback to these games is that you sometimes feel like you could actually be a rock star or play the guitar one day.

I may not become a famous rock band member, but in the meantime, I am playing and having fun. Isn't there some saying - the family that plays together stays together?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Year of Living Biblically and other books

I just finished this months book club book - The Glass Castle. However, I am so excited about an upcoming book, The Year of Living Biblically, becaues an interview with the author reveals that my Lent commitment Gratitude in Action , may not be so crazy after all. An excerpt from the book:

Do you think many people are misguided in their “creed over deed” mentality?

[Note from Tim: “Creed over deed” refers to people who value religious belief more than moral behavior. “Deed over creed” would be the opposite.]

I wouldn't say misguided. But I'd say most of us do underestimate the power that behavior has to shape thought.

It's astounding. I watched it happen to myself. For instance, I forced myself to stop gossiping, and eventually I started to have fewer petty thoughts to gossip about. I forced myself to help the needy, and found myself becoming less self-absorbed. I never became Ghandi or Angelina Jolie, but I made some strides.

I even watched it happen with prayer. After a year of praying, I started to believe there's something to the idea of sacredness. It was remarkable. So if you want to become someone different, just start acting like the person you want to be. It's like that business motto "fake it till you make it" but it works on a spiritual and ethical level as well.

Even with my wardrobe, I saw how the outer affects the inner. There's a line in the Bible that says your "garments should always be white." I decided to take that literally, and walked around in white clothes. It affected my mood. I felt happier, lighter. Clothes make the man. I felt I couldn't be in a bad mood if I looked like I was about to play the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

What were some of the greatest benefits of following rules to the letter, and what are the things that have stuck with you since ending the experiment?

It was fascinating. I'd always loved freedom of choice. It's why I went to a loosey-goosey liberal arts college with no core requirements. But this experiment was all about freedom FROM choice. Or at least a minimal-choice lifestyle. I had a set structure: Should I read the gossip magazine about Cameron Diaz's latest sex romp? No. Should I give 10 percent of my money to the needy? Yes. Should I turn off my email on the Sabbath (as both the Bible and Tim Ferriss recommend)? Yes.

In fact, there was something Ferriss-esque about the entire way of living. It reminded me of your low-information diet, for instance. In some ways, it was a huge time-saver.

If you want to read the entire interview, you can see it here.

I love the idea of having control over some aspects of my life. Often, I feel so out of control, that it is nice to believe that through hard work and sheer force of will, I can at least control my attitude and my reaction to situations. Our old pastor, Jim Martin, would say "Act yourself into a new way of thinking." I am not naive, and I do not believe that I can simply wake up tomorrow and say, "I am going to be grateful today." However, I do believe that with lots of hard work and time, I can improve my attitude and become more grateful.