Sunday, July 29, 2018

Chosen to be God’s Children

 3 Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. 4 Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him.

Because of his love 5 God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children—this was his pleasure and purpose. 6 Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son! 7 For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God, 8 which he gave to us in such large measure!

In all his wisdom and insight 9 God did what he had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan he had already decided to complete by means of Christ. 10 This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.

11 All things are done according to God's plan and decision; and God chose us to be his own people in union with Christ because of his own purpose, based on what he had decided from the very beginning. 12 Let us, then, who were the first to hope in Christ, praise God's glory!

13 And you also became God's people when you heard the true message, the Good News that brought you salvation. You believed in Christ, and God put his stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised. 14 The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Let us praise his glory! (Ephesians 1:3-14 Good News Translation)

It seems like such a long time since we got home from this year’s Lifest. I’m looking at the calendar, going, “Really? It was only two weeks? Fourteen days? What in the world has been going on since then? I barely even remember being there.”

Well, there was that upper respiratory crud that I was fighting for the entire last two and a half weeks, along with five days camping since then. Boy, good thing I took notes.

The above Bible passage was from Pastor Joel Zeiner, the man who led devotions Friday morning. He is an associate pastor at Christ the Rock Community Church in Menasha, WI.

Even though I wrote down that he spoke on Ephesians 1, verses one through fourteen, I didn’t write down everything he said about it. The theme was about what a complete plan God has for us, with the emphasis being on how many times He mentions in these few verses how He chose us. That’s all the notes I wrote down. Reread the passage above, and I don’t think there is much more I can add to it.

Heavenly Father, thank You for calling each and every one of us by name, to be Your children. And thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to set us free. Amen. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Coming to the Clinic - part 6

It’s been four months since I started my series of blog posts regarding how to be the perfect patient. My goodness, what a slacker I have been! Hopefully you have hung in with me and have reread the previous posts that I have shared most recently on my social media. Last week I reminded you about the importance of knowing what medications you are on. This week, I am going to focus on one family of medications.

Back in the mid-1990s, the American Pain Society decided that your health care provider needed to record a fifth vital sign. After measuring your blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration rate and temperature, we were told we had to ask you if you were in any pain. It was felt that the medical community was doing their patients a huge disservice by not addressing their pain. They told us that we had to ask every patient, every time if they were in any pain, and if they answered in the affirmative, we had to find out where it was, how bad it was and how long it’s been there. The provider would then go into the room, address this information and treat the patient’s pain.

This patient might be in for a routine blood pressure check and the chronic arthritic pain they have in their back wasn’t even on their radar. They had been told years ago that no one could do anything about this pain. Yet, now, here you are seeing your family practitioner and now he or she is obligated to give you something for your pain.

In those first years of this mandate, prescribing Vicodin or a similar narcotic pain pill seemed the popular course to take. Until the medical field got thousands of its patients hooked on narcotics and then had to deal with getting them clean.

Thus began the prescription opioid epidemic. There were other causes which spiraled this situation out of control, a whole litany of issues, that I’m not going to get into. However we got to this point, a large number of people across the country are popping too many controlled substances. These include not only those popular pain pills like Vicodin, Percocet and Morphine, but also benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium, sedatives like Ambien and ADHD meds like Ritalin and Adderall. The list of controlled substances is massively long. The most common way for a medication to get on this list is if there is any potential for abuse.  You would be shocked to know some of the measures people will take to get a buzz off of these things.  

So now that the federal government has figured out that they have a country of people hooked on prescribed medications, they have decided to make your health care provider the bad guy, the one who has to try to get you off these meds. Or at least monitor the situation.

If you are on any of these medications, for whatever reason, it may not be only your health care provider’s idea to either cut you off your drugs or make you sign away your life to stay on them. It is the federal government. I’m just telling you that. 

Now, I’m going to tell you what this means to you if you are taking any of these controlled substances on a regular basis. I am sure all clinics are a little bit different, but in general, they are all supposed to be keeping track of who is taking what, when and why. At your next office visit, you might be asked to sign a contract stating you will take these meds only as prescribed, not get them elsewhere, not give them to your friends (or sell them to strangers). You might also be asked to give a urine drug screen so that we know you are taking only what you are supposed to be.

None of this is because we think you are a criminal. We are not trying to “bust” you and take away your drugs. We are trying to do what is best for you; what is best for you could just be to get you off these meds entirely. But we are also trying to obey the laws that have come down to us from above.

There is a plethora of information about this on the internet, but here are just a few websites:

(I’ve tried to keep my opinion out of today’s article. I’ve tried to share the facts, as I see them and as I have ascertained them off the internet and from my own clinic. There is a lot more I could say on this topic, but I think I will cut myself off here.)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

God is so, so good to me

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Last Sunday, I blogged about this cold I was coming down with and how I hadn’t found a lot of inspiration at Lifest. The cough, congestion, and drainage of this cold got completely out of control by Monday morning, just as we were packing to go camping. I was miserable the entire day, toting around my box of Kleenex like my lifeline. We got to the campground, set up the camper and I was done. I was so done with just everything - being sick all the time, aching all over, dealing with not only my heel spurs, but a new pain in my right knee, the continuing pain in my hands and that weird pain in my right upper arm which had suddenly morphed into a bruise. (Maybe I should just get a good physical, huh?)
So, I crawled into my sleeping bag Monday night and instead of a nice bed-time prayer of thanks, I went off on a rant to God. I know, not very Christian of me. When I do that (which don’t we all at times), I feel like such a non-believer, as if I am testing God. “Prove You are really who You say You are”.
But God is so much cooler than that. When I quieted my mind enough to listen for an answer, He clearly said to me, “Be still and know that I am God.”
He could have used a verse about “in this world you will have trouble” or “do not lose heart” or any number of other verses. But no, He’s got this. He knew what to tell me. He knew what to say which would settle my fears and doubts and anger.
Lord, God, Heavenly Father, You are so, so good to me. Especially when I don’t deserve it. You are my Rock and my Shield. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Amen.
(And by the way, even though I was able to sleep in the comfort of God’s arms on Monday night, this cold dogged me all week. Not gonna blame God though, coz He is still so good to me.)  

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Better Days Are Coming

Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.
1 Chronicles 13:8 (New King James Version)

 Sitting here looking over my pictures and my notes from yet another Lifest, that Christian music festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, which I have been to eleven times since the first year in 2002, I’m trying to come up with the big “ah-ha” moment to share with you. But there is so much, as usual.

 I’m also so tired. Not only was the weather hot and humid all weekend and rainy on Friday, I woke up Thursday morning with a cold, which has left me exhausted and spacy, unable to focus on much at times except my cough and running nose. Needless to say, I didn’t do much singing and dancing, no matter how much Hubby encouraged me.

 I can’t say that I even did much singing and dancing in my soul, which leaves me somewhat disheartened. But I will bounce back. My Father in heaven will wait for me, always with open arms.

Thank You, Lord Father, for giving me this weekend, for my cold and the stormy weather. I know You are with me in all things and that better days are coming. Amen  

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Good Land

Psalm 37 
 25 I was young, and now I am old.
    But I have never seen the Lord leave good people helpless.
    I have never seen their children begging for food.
26 Good people always lend freely to others.
    And their children are a blessing.
27 Stop doing evil and do good.
    Then you will live forever.
28 The Lord loves justice.
    He will not leave those who worship him.
He will always protect them.
    But the children of the wicked will die.
29 Good people will inherit the land.
    They will live in it forever.
30 A good person speaks with wisdom.
    He says what is fair.
31 The teachings of his God are in his heart.
    He does not fail to keep them.
32 The wicked watch for good people.
    They want to kill them.
33 The Lord will not take away his protection.
    He will not judge good people guilty.

It’s been a month since I shared the previous eight verses from Psalm 37. Lately, I’ve been feeling a lot of that first line – “I was young, and now I am old”. I keep feeling older every day, especially when I see the sadness in this world, the evil, the lack of doing what is right.

Then I turn my eyes to the Word of God, to the Holy Bible and find words like these, and I know that there is hope for better things.  

Good people will inherit the land. They will live in it forever.

Friday, July 6, 2018

My Train Ride

 On Sunday, I shared a random picture of me on a train, with the promise that I would get around to sharing the rest of the story. So here it is.

 Last Friday, Hubby and I went down to East Troy to visit our son. Saturday morning, while the son was volunteering at a car show, Hubby and I headed over to the East Troy Train Museum and Depot. The East Troy Railroad Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational corporation with a mission to preserve the rail heritage of Wisconsin and America. Its rail line runs between Mukwonago and East Troy and is the last remnant of The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light interurban rail system.
 In the early nineteen-hundreds, The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company operated over 200 miles of track in Southeastern Wisconsin, providing freight and mail service as well as public transportation. By the 1930s, highways throughout the country were improving and more people were driving their own vehicles, which meant a decrease in passenger service on the railroad. Eventually, the need for freight service also waned. All the other lines were eventually abandoned, but the people of the city of East Troy fought to keep the segment from Mukwonago to their town. Over the years all service ended, except for the passenger cars which carry tourist and train enthusiasts along this track.
 Hubby and I jumped on one such rail car for the short journey to the Elegant Farmer store in Mukwonago. The train would be back to pick us up in half hour. As we were entering the store, the son called and asked where we were. I obliged and, within what seemed like only a few minutes, the boy showed up, having driven the six miles from East Troy. Hubby and I took our few purchases to the checkout, where he thought I should check on the status of our train. It was in the station, boarding.

I told the son to let his step-dad know that I was jumping on the train and heading back. I felt bad that Hubby missed the train, but at least the son was there to give him a ride back to the depot in East Troy. I figure that gave them some male-bonding time and I got some me-time.

Back at the Depot with the son. All is good. 
You can read more about the East Troy train by clicking here. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Independence Day

Good morning and Happy Fourth of July to everyone. I am sure that you have things to do today – hopefully fun stuff such as cooking out, setting off safe fireworks, watching parades or chilling by some sort of body of water. So I will make this short.

Looking back, I see that I have mentioned Independence Day in various posts, but never wrote about the history of the holiday. Of course, you all learned that in school and committed it to memory, right? Ok, maybe not all of it, but I am sure most remember hearing that Thomas Jefferson, for the most part, wrote the Declaration of Independence and that the colonies signed it on July 4, 1776. 

Well, it went something like that, depending on what you read, but as already mentioned, I am going to make this short. Here is what I really want you to remember today.

The preamble which begins with these famous lines, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I’d like to reprint the rest of that preamble here, or a paraphrase of it. I actually found a version of the Declaration of Independence online in “modern day language”. I’ll leave it to you to look it up and read it. As with anything that is paraphrased, there is a certain amount of interpretation, which veers from the original sentiments, which is why I won’t post it here. (I need to stop writing, don’t I? So much for keeping this short.)

What I really want to say is that if you are a citizen of these United States of America, your government was formed to allow you to have these rights and freedoms, along with all of your friends, neighbors and enemies. You may not agree with these people on everything, but you have to agree that they have the same rights and freedoms as you do. And we need to be respectful of that in what we say and do. That’s all folks. 
Hubby and I went to southeast Wisconsin this past weekend. We weren’t planning on driving through the state capital on the way home, but I see now why we did. As many times as I go past the state capitol, I never tire of it. To me, it is a symbol of Freedom.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

A Bit Quirky

 The Lord is righteous in all He does. 
 The Lord is loving and right. Yes, our God is full of loving-kindness.
 The Lord takes care of the child-like. I was brought down, and He saved me.
(Psalm 116:5-6 New Life Version)

There are some things which I will never master, here is one of them. What is with this younger generation that they feel the need to not only take “selfies”, but then to post them on their social media? Me? Not so much . . .

The circumstances under which I took this horrible picture (and four that are even worse) are a story I will share another time. I will admit to you, however, that over the last few months I’ve been feeling down for no reason I can put my finger on. If you read my last post, you know how busy I have been, which I am sure contributes to my downheartedness. I also have been feeling just plain old.

So yesterday, riding alone on this train, I was hit with the child-like wonder I used to possess, that yearning to explore and discover, to find everything novel and fascinating, to see through eyes of someone who is innocent. I was also hit with desire to return to writing in general and blogging in particular, to share even the most mundane events of my life and let you, my readers, experience them with that same curiosity.   

It was a moment of epiphany, of realization that it was time to return to my roots, to who I really am. Not some old lady on a train, but a child at heart. And a child of God.

Thank You, God, for making me who I am, a bit quirky at times, but still always a child belonging to You. Amen.