Monday, March 31, 2014

The Sacred Heart, part 1

In the summer of 2003, the doors opened to the new combined hospital / clinic in my hometown. The new building is adequate, even state-of-the-art, as much as that is possible in our small community. But the new hospital has none of the character of the grand old building it replaced.

A few weeks ago, it was announced that they would be razing the old hospital which has sat empty for the past ten years. They are going to build an assisted living facility on the lot, which is a very good use of the space. But will that new building have any of the charm of the old Sacred Heart Hospital?

I took this picture in early March of 2008. The building hadn't deteriorated too much yet. 
 The rest of my pictures were taken the other day. Here is the whole front side of the hospital.
 The main entrance was on the second floor, which meant visitors had to climb a set of stairs to visit anyone. Oh, there was an elevator if you went in the side door, but as a kid there was something so cool about climbing the stairs just beyond this door. I can still remember how it smelled inside.
 Behind these windows was a beautiful two-story chapel. I don't think that I mentioned that the hospital was run by a group of nuns, the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. You did not mess with the nuns. Anyway, when the hospital was still in operation, there were beautiful stained glass windows in the chapel. When the building was shut down they took out the stained glass and put it in a hospital about 95 miles to the south west of here. I don't know why the glass couldn't have stayed in our community.
 The backside of the building.
 My mom, my daughter and I were all wheeled through these doors with broken bones over the years.
 So sad to see the building in such a sorry state. The memories that sprouted here. The stories these walls could tell.
I have one story to share myself, but that will have to wait until Thursday. I have enough pictures here already.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Time to Start Running Again

You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one runner gets the prize. So run like that. Run to win! All who compete in the games use strict training. They do this so that they can win a prize—one that doesn’t last. But our prize is one that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25,Easy-to-Read Version

Even though my backyard still looks like this:

 And my driveway is covered in ice and four inches of snow, with one small patch of bare ground which is currently frozen mud, our road is finally free of the remnants of winter. There is actually dry blacktop out there past the frozen tundra that is my yard.

Yesterday the temperature was in the forties, so I tentatively picked my way to the end of my driveway and took my first run/walk, which was mostly walk and consisted of one mile. Over the long brutal winter months, I made an attempt to run on the treadmill at least a couple of times a week. Because running on the treadmill feels like Chinese water torture to me, I sprinkled in some aerobics and simply running the small circle that is my basement.

That did not do the trick. This morning, I feel as out of shape as ever. My legs are killing me and even my back and arms ache. I obviously did not follow any sort of strict training over the winter. I wonder if I will possibly be ready to meet my goal - run in a 5Kon June 14.

I run to get in shape, to get out of the house, because it feels good (once I get past the pain), and to see if I can run this year’s races faster than last year’s. For me that is winning. For me the prize is to accomplish my goals and not to beat out everyone else. I know that I will never be the best compared to the completion.

As a Christian, I know I will never win either, not on my own anyway. I try to be good, but I will never be good enough. I will never beat out the sins that cover my life. That is why Jesus died on the cross and rose again. He won the race for us.  

To my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, thank You for giving me legs that I can run on, a beautiful road to enjoy while I run and mostly thank You for giving me eternal life. Amen 

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I went to the document where I keep everything I've written in my blogs, and at the top of it, I had these quotations that I was saving to write separate blogs about. I thought I would lump them all into one blog post and see what you think. What do they all have in common?

“. . . in the valley of the blind, it’s the one-eyed man who is king.”

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” JFK

“I am not offended” by Joyce Meyer

“If you are too open-minded, it will all just fall out.”

“Even if you are the right track, you’ll just get run over if you sit there.” Will Rogers

I don't know. Are they just random thoughts? 
Random flowers at the Home Depot two years ago. Does any brave place have their flowers out yet?? Coz it is snowing here right now. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Just One Story

I’ve been following the drama of missing flight 370 from Malaysia. If you are reading this sometime in the future, when this is all a distant memory, the Boeing 777 with 239 passengers and crew on board, went missing over two weeks ago. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but from what I’ve seen on cop shows, those guys can track someone’s cell phone around the globe and back. How can they lose a plane two-thirds the size of a football field? I know it’s not as simple as that and I know that even crazier things then this have happened. This is just one of thosethings that has really captured the media and has caused international stress.

I do feel for the families of all of the people who were on that plane. I would certainly just want closure. After the first 48 hours that the plane was missing, anyone who thought that there were any survivors at that point – well those people are not in touch with reality. Yes, it would be nice if the plane had been hijacked and some evil militant group was holding the passengers and crew. But do you know how much food it would take to keep 239 people alive for two weeks? A lot. And militants aren’t known for treating people well, so I think they were better off going into the ocean. Nah, not really, I mean, nobody wants to die in a plane crash. Those passengers were heading home or heading to business meetings or heading off on vacation.

This could be just one story.

“Yes, honey, I’m boarding the plane right now, but I have to go. I will see you when we land.”

Huan Lee hung up the phone and smiled. Even though her husband was gone on business frequently, she still missed him when he was gone.

“Mama, who was on the phone?” Mei burst into the room, her hair still tousled from sleep.

“That was your father. He is on his way home.”

The round face of the little girl lit up. Her daddy was coming home! “What will we do when he gets home? Can we go to the park?”

“Yes, of course,” Huan answered, smoothing her daughter’s dark hair. She was so much like her father, so full of life, full of optimism for the future.

And there are 238 more stories we will never hear. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Peace and Acceptance

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. Galatians 5:22-23 Easy-to-Read Version

After a couple of stressful weeks with very little time for writing, I finally was able to retreat into my office and there was my word I had chosen for this year staring back at me on my desk. Acceptance.

Acceptance. 1. the act of taking or receiving something offered.
2. favorable reception; approval; favor.
3. the act of assenting or believing: acceptance of a theory.
4. the fact or state of being accepted or acceptable.

Or that’s what says about the word. To me, I can receive something that is offered or take what is given, but to accept it means something more. The second definition is getting closer to what I feel. I have received what is offered and have done so positively or with favor. Yet there is still one word lacking in these definitions. I think the word is peace.

I probably get that from the Serenity Prayer. I guess it is so engrained in me from those few years I went to Al-Anon. But no matter what your circumstances, that prayer should guide everyone in any struggles that they face. Serenity. Peace. Patience. Trust. Faith. Acceptance.

God grant this all to me, in the name of Jesus Christ.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Only Blog Post This Week. And Why

Doesn't look like I will get much writing done this week and certainly no blogging. Why? Date Night.
This is our first major fund-raiser for our non-profit organization, and it seems to have taken over my life right now. But that is ok. After tomorrow night, I can take a break and get back to other things. For now, however, with Kenya blazing in my brain, here is a link to a blog telling you about how this happened in the first place: Kenya was Calling Me.  

Or if you rather listen to music  and listen to pictures, this youtube video tells the story too. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014


If you follow my blog, you may remember that I was not having a good week the last time I checked in. I was dealing with the loss of a patient and the stomach flu. My week didn’t get much better. The diarrhea is still hanging around, the wife of my patient who passed away is still pretty distraught and turning to me for support, work has been crazy as usual, my husband’s work has been worse, and those couple of nice warm days earlier in the week were just teasers as the temperature was below zero again this morning.

On top of all of that I have become obsessed with that missing airliner. If you stumble upon this sometime in the future or are currently living in a news blackout, flight MH370 out of Malaysia went missing eight days ago. This is a huge Boeing 777 airplane with 239 people on board and simply vanished an hour after take-off. At first, the authorities thought that it went down in a catastrophic event (that’s what they called it; one way or another it means crash to me whether the plane went down and broke into a million pieces or blew up in mid-air). Now, because of some kind of technology I don’t understand they say the plane itself was sending signals long after contact was lost and that they think the plane could have flown for another five hours. So if they know that much, why don’t they know where the plane is? If it was a hijacking, why hasn’t someone made demands? If it was an act of terrorism, why hasn’t some militant group claimed responsibly?  And how does someone hide a plane two-thirds the size of a football field? And what about all those people? Two-hundred-thirty-nine of them, including two infants? And all their friends and loved ones just wanting to know?

I seriously think that whatever went wrong at 40,000 feet, the plane blew apart in some obscure place and that it is just taking time to find it. But there is this little part of my active imagination that would like to think that the plane landed safely in some hidden jungle and that all those people are alive and well and will come home someday. Or my uber-active imagination thinks they are living in an alternate reality.

And this is why I don’t sleep at night.
A plane taking off at the Amsterdam airport. 

  Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Psalm 37:7 New International Version

Do you think some evil people got away with the perfect crime?  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sick Day

I really was sick yesterday. I hadn't slept at all the night before, my tummy rumbling and the rest of my body sweating profusely. But when I got up in the morning, I said to myself, I've had a tummy rumble and diarrhea for three days now, whatever bug I have has run its course and I have to get to work. I got to work and asked if I could turn around and go back home. This intestinal bug was still bugging me. 

But not so much that I had to stay in bed all day, not when I saw what was transpiring in my backyard. Sometimes it is a stroke of luck to be sick. 

You've seen pictures of my backyard in the past, but I must retrace a few steps.
 This is the view from my back deck on January 4 of this year. My dad had made that sundial years and years ago. When Mom moved out of her house in 1995, she asked if anyone wanted it and I said "sure". We stuck it amongst the daylillies and other flowers that the previous owner had planted and didn't think more of it.
 By January 31,  I was fascinated by the top-hat look that the sundial was taking on.
 By February 18, it was nearly buried in the snow.
 But by March 3, it appeared to have reached maximum capacity.
 Now is the point when you will think I have lost my mind. Let the countdown begin.
At 7:22 am.
 At 10:19. Hmm? It is definitely not going to last long.
 At 11:01. I think I have a fever, I should really go back to bed.
 At 11:48. Is it possible that I will witness the demise of the top-hat?
At 11:59. I took this picture and turned to check something else on the deck, and when I turned back . . .
. . . one minute later, at 12:00, my little pile of snow bit the snowbank.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

What do you need most?

What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Living Bible

Lent started this week and so I wanted to blog about a central theme for the next six weeks. The last days of Jesus’s life on this earth, His parables, or something even more witty than usual. God once again had other plans.

I had a lousy week at work, capped off by learning Thursday morning that one of my patient’s had just died. I went and visited his wife on Friday afternoon. She has no relatives and no close friends, so I am going to stop and see her again today. She is in need of so much – food, money, companionship – and I am left wondering how I can provide all of these things.

When I opened up the Biblegateway website as I started thinking about what to blog about today, the verse above is what came up. Because of course God knows what I need when I need it the most. And He knows what this newly-widowed woman needs too. I can give her a lot of things, but the one thing I need most to give her is to know that the things of this earth will fade away but that the love of Jesus Christ will be with us into eternity.

Lord, God Heavenly Father, be with all who grieve. Remind them that someday all believers will be together again, that this life is temporary. Strengthen them and hold them in the palm of Your hand. Amen 

Friday, March 7, 2014

March Photo Challenge

The March photo challenge was "words and letters". I was pretty excited about that since I take pictures of every interesting sign I see, and don't most signs have words and letters? I find these signs tell us unexpected things about the world around us and the people in it. The true challenge was picking out just a few of them. 
"R" you ok? One day at work this letter popped off of my keyboard. Needless to say, my co-workers thought I was nuts when I took a picture of it.
They put up this sign in our parking lot at work, mostly, I think, because my boss drives his Corvette too fast as he comes and goes each day.
The first sign was totally fine, but for some reason they replaced it with this one. And one other thing to note: there is no speed bump. They took it out one winter so they could plow snow and they never put it back in the spring. Maybe they figure that if they keep putting up new speed bump signs people will slow down just reading them.
This sign also cracked me. The main drag in our town had some potholes a few years ago. Someone damaged their car on one of them so the city fathers put up this sign just to cover their . . . you-know-whats. You will notice how many people are heeding the warning.
I know that I am over my limit of pictures I am supposed to post for this blog challenge, but I just had to add this one. It was taken at the Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago. It's so sad that the chicken pot pies are melting, but I am glad that the handicapped can park within reach. And who doesn't want to take a free hi-lighter? 

As always, the photos were taken with my Nikon Coolpix. I love my husband for buying it for me!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Radio Interview

I don't believe I shared my radio interview from two weeks ago.

It is not fantastic, but not horrible either. The host had asked for a list of potential questions, which I had emailed a month and a half before. When I was practicing my answers a few days prior to the interview, I realized that some of the questions were rather lame. I hoped the host wouldn't ask those, but naturally he did, along with a few questions of his own which I didn't see coming.

I guess it is all a learning curve. My advice to anyone who is being interviewed: be prepared, but more importantly, be ready to wing it.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

True Confessions: part 2

Jesus said to his followers, “Things will surely happen that will make people sin. But it will be very bad for anyone who makes this happen. It will be very bad for anyone who makes one of these little children sin. It would be better for them to have a millstone tied around their neck and be drowned in the sea. So be careful!

“If your brother or sister in God’s family does something wrong, warn them. If they are sorry for what they did, forgive them. Even if they do something wrong to you seven times in one day, but they say they are sorry each time, you should forgive them.”
 Luke 17:1-4 Easy-to-Read Version

If you follow my blog, you may be saying to yourself, Chris, you used this passage last week. Surely of the thousands of great verses in the Bible, I wouldn’t have to use the same one two weeks in a row. Well, here’s the deal, I didn’t say everything I wanted to last week.

Last week I shared one of my childhood transgressions, shoplifting on my way to Confirmation class. It was one single solitary piece of candy, not even a whole candy bar, but one those candies you drop by the scoop into a paper bag. It doesn’t matter. I stole.

What things have you stolen? Do you use the copier at work to make personal copies? Do you use the fax machine to fax personal papers? Have you forgotten to punch out for lunch and told yourself that it only makes up for all the times you worked through lunch? Have you ever gotten home from the store and found an extra item in your bag that wasn’t rung up and paid for? Did you take it back to the store?

No, I am not perfect. I have done some of these things too. But they are still all forms of stealing. They are all breaking a commandment. Does God care if you steal something worth ten cents or if you embezzle millions of dollars? No, not really. To Him a sin is a sin. That’s why none of us can ever make it to heaven on our own. That’s why this Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and we enter the six weeks of Lent, six weeks to reflect on our sins and be thankful that Jesus came to take every last one of them away.

He died on that cross to pay back millions of dollars taken due to sin, millions of lives ruined due to sin. He died to pay back one piece of candy.   

Lord, God Heavenly Father, what more can I say? I am a miserable sinner and only Your saving grace can redeem me. Amen