Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stress Tests for the Heart

So I'm having a "stress test" tomorrow. Yeah, just what I need... more stress. But this is a carefully monitored test done by a medical professional who will keep an eye on my heart rate and blood pressure while I walk on a tread mill for awhile (or so I understand). They should be able to determine something from this. I don't know what, but they are the professionals, not me.
In thinking about this, and in my reading of the Old Testament (which, yeah, can be kind of dry at times), I'm seeing some similarities between the medical stress test and what we sometimes go through. In the Old Testament (and I'm sure, beyond that, too) God often "tested" His people by allowing certain trials into their lives, in order to see the condition of their hearts. It's in and through stressful times that we see what we are made of (ohhh, ouch, I just ended that sentence with a preposition!). My recent stressful times have shown me that I'm not as strong or as full of faith as I thought or as I want other people to think! It's shown me how much I need my husband and family. It's shown me that saying "no" from time to time can actually be a good thing. It's shown me that I do need to take time to (literally) smell the roses in my garden. I also see how much I need God. (no need to elaborate on that one!).
So, yeah, stress tests really do reveal the condition of the heart. We'll see what the medical professional says tomorrow as a result of my test. I already know some of the results of my other stresses.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New York Memories and Adventures

I've been back for two days from our High School Madrigal trip to NY. It was a busy and extremely memorable time away. We left Exeter at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 16th (wow! one week ago!) and arrived in NY on Friday morning 7 a.m. After catching a quick breakfast at a 2-story McDonalds in downtown NY and waiting a few hours for our rooms to be ready we had an afternoon of rehearsal in the hotel.

Saturday was packed with rehearsals then out to see "The Lion King" on Broadway! For lunch on Saturday I was able to connect with my friend, Sheryl, from New Jersey who came into the city just to have lunch with me!!

This is Hayden, Sean and Michael all dressed up and ready to go.

Sunday we had free time in the morning, rehearsal in the afternoon and - the highlight of the weekend... concert in Carnegie Hall!!!

Monday was a trip to Liberty Island and Ellis Island followed by a walking tour of Wall Street and that area. It was a cold, rainy, bitter day (and like an idiot, I had already packed my coat and umbrella!)

The group's stay in NY ended Monday afternoon as they boarded a bus back to the airport and then a flight back to LA. As for me... I hadn't been feeling well for several days and began to have chest pain along with racing heart... I got an ambulance ride to the New York Downtown Hospital.

I am so thankful for my friend, Mary, who stayed with me the entire time (she's an RN, too, so that was real help!) They kept me until 2:30 in the morning after which Mary and I went back to the hotel, slept about 4 hours and caught a flight out at 11:30 a.m. Amazingly, the same United official who had helped Ms. Lovik change out tickets the night before was there to help us in the morning! We had a very smooth flight and arrived home safe and sound Tuesday at 6 p.m.

So... the glad game... well, I'm thankful for me friends, I'm thankful for the kind people at the Marriott and the hospital. I'm thankful for the wonderful experiences we all had. I am thankful to have had the privilege of watching my son, Michael, and the other 19 EUHS Madrigals, sing on the stage in Carnegie Hall. I am thankful for the opportunity to observe the director, Dr. Ehp Ely. His passion and enthusiasm along with his very positive way of working with the students inspired me and the others!! It was worth the trip just to watch him work with the students!!

So, after more than a year of fund-raising, the trip is here and gone. The memories will last a lifetime!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Take Root Downward, Produce Fruit Upward

For months now (since January) I have been going out to our Chinese Pistache trees to look for any signs of life or growth. All winter they just looked like sticks... skinny, little sticks coming out of the ground. About 3 weeks ago I began to notice very slight green "something" at the ends of the sticks. A week or so later they were actually growing something!! Now, our little trees have leaves on them!!! Not only that, but the roses we transplanted from the neighbor's yard are growing and have flowers on them!!
Spring is wonderful because it gives me a sense of hope again which I need and probably most people need. All winter it looked like nothing was happening, but there was something happening!! The roots were going down into the ground. We (and the rain) watered the trees and rose bushes, but still we didn't see anything happening. Now, we can see that there was something happening! I think this is the way God works. I don't always see (in fact, I rarely do) what He is doing in my life (or family, or church), and to me it looks like nothing is happening, but all along, as I take time to read my Bible, pray, and do my fair share (and more) or ranting and questioning and wondering, God is working. My roots are going down deep. Strong winds, I'm told, have the effect of loosening the ground so that roots can go deeper. There have been strong winds. So, roots go down and eventually fruit (or leaves, or roses) spring up! Yesterday I was reading and found this verse; "the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward... the zeal of the LORD will do this." (2 Kings 19:30-31)
This gave me a sense of hope which I have needed lately. I want to be productive, fruitful... I want to take root downward and produce fruit upward. God will do this if I'm staying close to Him.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Glad Game gets harder

Uhm, ok now the glad game is getting harder. I am glad that our hot water heater stopped working properly yesterday and we have to get a new one ($$ka-ching!$$).... beeecauseeeee.....

*Now I can take a bath without having to heat water on the stove!
*We won't have to wait between showers for the water to heat up again! (and with 2 adults and 3 teenagers, this is a plus)
*We won't (hopefully) have to get a new one for a long time.

The water heater we're replacing we've had about 5 years and was a used one (I think). This is a larger one.

Still working on a reason to be glad that the van is overheating.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Glad Game continues

Sticking with my "glad game" theme...
We are having to vacumn and clean everything because with out 3 dogs (who live outside) and our 1 cat (who lives inside) we have FLEAS in our house. I saw one jump onto my Bible the other day!! I also saw one when I was changing sheets earlier this week. That clinched it. Tomorrow we're having the house sprayed inside and out.
So - "the glad game". We are getting our house really clean!! We're finding things that we thought we had lost as we clean! (I'll think of some more things later).
I was remembering the story of Corrie Ten Boom, who lived in Holland during WWII and was taken to a Nazi concentration camp for hiding Jews in their house. At one point in the story they discover fleas in their "barracks". Corrie was upset, but her sister Betsie was glad because they could now read the Bible they smuggled in, in peace without the guards bothering them. The guards would not go into the flea infested barracks.
I can be glad, because of the reasons I already mentioned, and also because of the freedom we have here in this country!
Now to think of reasons to be glad for the hot water heater breaking down and the van needing some possibly major work.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Glad Game

I'm thinking more and more about simple things. I talked about this is a post a while back... being simple, relational, intentional (or something like that). I'm thinking about simple things like being positive and encouraging rather than "gloom and doom". We are going through rough times, all of us. The economy world wide is in a mess. The economy here is a mess. Things are tight, things are tough, but it doesn't really do any good to keep talking about "how bad things are". I'm seeing this, specifically, in our church. Yeah, things have been rough, but what are the GOOD things that are happening? What about faith? What about some hard work and a positive outlook. I know we need to be realistic, but can't we be positive at the same time? I've decided to really make an effort to be positive. People may not remember the old Disney Movie "Pollyanna" (it's next on our Netflix queue). She plays "the glad game".... looking for something positive in everything. I know that I will be happier doing this than always seeing everything that's WRONG in a situation. Really, in the end, it all turns out right. God wins. Actually, He has already won! The time between now and when Jesus comes back is just "mopping up". Let's keep working, keep positive and keep loving and being kind to each other. I'm tired of the other way.