Tuesday, September 10, 2013


A couple days ago I noticed a plant here where I'm house sitting that I seriously didn't even know was there (apparently, I'm blind).

And because I blindly didn't realize it was there, it hadn't been watered when the other plants were.

It was looking very, very sad and droopy and I was so upset with myself because I was convinced I had let this big potted plant die.

I dumped a couple pitchers of water on it (making up for lost time, ya know?) and hoped for the best.

Okay, I may have even said a prayer or two for this plant.

I looked at it around 11:00 that night before I got in bed and I could not believe it.

It's tall and green and huge and bright and happy again.

It doesn't even look like the same plant.

And then I thought about myself...

Obviously, if I don't drink enough water, I get really droopy and feel really awful.

Sometimes due to the Crohn's disease, even when I am drinking enough water, my body doesn't absorb it and I still get dehydrated. (Yay for IV's!)

It's the same way for my spiritual health.

If I'm not getting enough of the Living Water, I get droopy and awful.

If I'm not spiritually healthy enough to absorb the water, sometimes it takes being poked and prodded to be able to absorb the Living Water.

Sometimes it even involves a little pain and blood.

This week it's been hitting me that we can't drink a couple gallons of the Living Water one day and expect to be healthy for the rest of the week.

We need daily sustenance so we don't get dehydrated.

And that is really, really, really convicting to me.

Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall giv him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." 
John 4:13-14

Thursday, September 5, 2013


If I had to choose one word to describe the past week, it would be slow.

Slow, slow, slow.

This recovery is going so slowly and making for a very slow week and making me a very slow person.

(Yeah, yeah. I can hear you guys making smart comments and laughing at me. You know who you are.)

It's been one of those weeks where I either choose to laugh or cry.

Every plan or schedule or list I've made, has been changed or thrown out completely.

There have been a few tears but I'm so happy and thankful to say that I've mostly been able to  choose laughter.

I've had friends and family ask me if I'm okay because I laugh so freaking hard at such little things.

It's stress relief. And it's the best medicine.

But I digress.

Slow has not been part of my vocabulary for a long, long, long time.

But when I find myself canceling (very much looked forward to) plans left and right, I realize just how full and nonstop and crazy and fast my life has been.

The hours and days and weeks and months have been packed with good things: very good things.

There's been canoeing and running and coffee chats and fairs and ministry and cookouts and bonfires and shopping trips and dinner dates and weekend get aways and long hours at work and gun shooting and weddings and parties and and cupcakes and sports and family gatherings and staying up half the night to play a crazy game and trips to the beach and so many more things that I can't even remember because all the craziness runs together.

(For the record, I don't regret any of it. This summer was amazing.)

And then all of a sudden I was laying in a hospital bed and everything came to a screeching halt.

And life is slow.

Very, very slow.

I'm having to learn what to do with slow. 

Honestly, I don't think I even remembered what slow is.

And ya know what? Slow is good.

It's slow mornings with candles and books.

It's slow evenings with bubble baths and magazines.

It's slow days filled with writing and reading and studying scripture and watching shows.

It's writing my Compassion kids.

It's getting more sleep.

It's eating the right things.

It's relearning how to feel and truly breathe and actually process life.

I'll admit: I can't wait until "slowing down" isn't quite this slow. This kind of slow can't last forever in order for life to go on as it needs to go on (I need to work more than five hours a day, for instance).

I can't wait until I'm able to run a 5k again because right now doing ten squats leaves me winded.

I can't wait until I can go help a friend clean or paint or bring someone a meal.

I can't wait until I can arrive at work before 11:00am.

I can't wait until I can grab all my younger siblings and go do something crazy and active and fun.

I can't wait until I'm well enough that "slow" can include things like a lazy canoe trip down the Rock River or hiking in the Kettle Moraine or meeting a friend for coffee on a Saturday morning.

But really, I can wait.

I'll wait as long as I need to (because Lord knows, I realize that I have to listen to my body or it's not. good. at. all.)

If there's one thing I've learned the past week, it's that I have to let go of my schedules and plans and let God work according to His.

And all I have to say is this: His are very, very, very different from mine.

That's okay. 

That's good. 

It grows and stretches and strengthens my faith and trust.

It helps me appreciate the little things even more.

Life is full of different seasons and phases and I know that craziness will very much be a part of my life for the foreseeable future. 

But my goal is that amidst the craziness that life brings, I'll remember to slow down and truly live each moment.

Because they go so fast.

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, to spend a year there, buy and sell, and make profit; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is life? It is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.
James 4:13-15

(Photos taken on my iPhone5)

Monday, September 2, 2013

candles and fire

This morning I'm thankful that it's a long weekend.

God's timing is always so great, even through the really hard things. I can't express how happy I am that it's a three-day weekend so I have more recovery time.

I love the slow and quiet mornings (even if they are filled with a lot of physical pain).

...the burning candles

...the music playing over the speakers in the kitchen

...the Isagenix protein shake on the back deck in the cool fall-ish air

...the time with my golden retriever

...the great devotional

...the stack of fun magazines

Below is an excerpt from what I read in Streams in the Desert this morning.

"The world's finest china is fired in ovens at least three times, and some many more. Dresden china is always fired three times. Why is it forced to endure such intense heat? Shouldn't once or twice be enough? No, it is necessary to fire the china three times so the gold, crimson, and other colors are brighter, more beautiful, and permanently attached.

"We are fashioned after the same principle. The human trials of life are burned into us numerous times, and through God's grace, beautiful colors are formed in us and made to shine forever.
Cortland Myers
(emphasis added)

These words really resonate with me today. This morning has held a lot of pain, nausea, and heat waves again. Quite honestly, it's been horrible. But I know that, if I allow it, these times are making me a stronger person. They're making me brighter and better.

And seriously...who doesn't want to be a stronger, brighter, better, shinier person? (smile)

Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Honesty and Shower Drains and Slowing Down

It's Sunday. 

The beginning of a new week.

This time it's the beginning of a new month.

The beginning of a new season.

After the week I just had, I like the thought of looking ahead to new things.

Laying in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV is not how I planned on spending my week.

It was so shocking, so unexpected. 

(See this blog post about my last hospitalization. I could write the same thing all over again.)

For the first half of my hospital stay, I lived in denial, numbing myself to truly feeling what was happening.

By Thursday, when I was getting worse again, I was losing my mind.

Lies upon lies about myself, about life, about God were swirling around in my head nonstop

I was terrified to stop and feel what was happening because I knew it would involve a lot of tears.

Being honest with God went hand in hand with being honest with myself. And because of the lies and anger I was facing, that was also on the list of "I don't want to do this".

But Thursday late afternoon, I got in the shower so the nurses and doctors and chaplains and surgeons and PA's and gift shop people and lab people and just everyone would leave me alone.

And I gave in to the tears.

There was swearing and praying and punching the shower wall and crumbling onto the shower floor.

Did I mention the tears?

But most importantly, there was honesty.

Honesty about way more than was going on in the hospital and in my body.

Honesty about things I didn't even know I needed to be honest about.

So much more than leg hairs and soap suds got washed down that shower drain in hospital room 4623.

Life gets so crazy and busy and insane and the important things like honesty and being still and prayer get shoved off the platter.

And that is so. not. right.

It's not healthy on so many levels.

Sometimes I'm so stupid that it takes being knocked flat on my back in a hospital bed in order to wake me up out of the funk of over-busyness.

And I am not proud of that.

I firmly believing in giving everything I have, serving with all my heart, working hard and to the best of my ability, playing really hard, and being completely sold out for Christ.

But I'm learning that I can't do that unless I take care of myself and take time to be still. It is just not possible.

Here is to taking time to make a menu, go grocery shopping, cook, and eat healthy (not just takeout and protein bars).

Here is to going running and taking time for circuit training and weights.

Here is to getting eight hours of sleep.

Here is to having a few weeknights and weekends with nothing on the calendar.

Here is to taking time to be quiet and still.

Here is to sitting down and reading or writing.

Here is to actually digging into the Bible and praying my way through it.

Here is to candles and bubble baths and a bit of wine.

This is not going to be easy. I don't suddenly have less to do. Heck, every weekend in September already has something on the calendar (all-weekend things, mind you).

But here is to making it happen anyway. 

Here is what I have seen: It is a good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. 
(Ecclesiastes 5:18)