Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Family’

My Crop Top and our New Holiday Tradition

I’ve decided I don’t need to go to the gym any more.  I’ve discovered YouTube.  After my walks in the morning, I plug in whatever I have time to do into the YouTube search bar.  I pick workouts that are as short as 5, 10 or 15 minutes, because it’s like I’ve always said, “go hard, or go home.”

I’m excited. These workouts have cool names that help me understand why I’m doing them: “Bikini Butt” and “5 Minute Crop Top Workout” are a couple of my favorites.  I’ve never worn a bikini, or a crop top, but I have a feeling that’s about to change.

Crop tops are THE COOLEST!  (Literally, I guess.) I saw a young woman at Costco the other day wearing one of these shirts.  It was around 20 degrees outside, and she and I crossed paths in the parking lot as I was running to my car to get out of the cold.  I saw her belly button, and her rock hard abs. I thought, good for her.  She’s not gonna let the negative wind chill tell her what to do.  I know it’s only a matter of time before I too can wear crop tops to Costco, or work, or my kids athletic events. I guess it’s just something everyone can look forward to seeing.  Especially my kids.

Do you have an, “Elf on a Shelf”?  I’m so sad we missed this tradition.  My friends at work have young children, and they have the best stories about this guy.  Olivia’s gotten wind of these stories, and it’s not good.  Olivia is holding a grudge against me.  I have totally failed in the holiday tradition department as a Mom, and I’m sorry for it.

The other night, Olivia was particularly bitter about our lack of traditions.  She made quite a speech about it.  She said, “When I’m a Mom, I’m going to do Santa Clause, Elf on a Shelf, Saint Nick, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and Leprechauns!”

Leprechauns, Olivia?  Really?  Leprechauns are a tradition Moms do? I feel pretty doubtful about that.  I think Leprechaun traditions are just bad form.  I told Olivia that the only reason a Mom would do a Leprechaun tradition is if she was drunk.  Because, that’s just like the Irish.  I told Olivia she should be pretty darn thankful her Mom is sober.  How about being sober for a tradition, Olivia?  Why don’t the Leprechaun Moms try that?

I really do feel guilty about all this. The lack of traditions part.  Not the part about calling moms who do Leprechaun traditions drunks.  I stand by that.

I love the Holidays.  I never tried to make my kids NOT believe in stuff.  I just never thought of it.  Ever.

I have loads of happy holiday memories from when I was little, but they’re not centered around any one tradition, or character – well, other than the Christ Child, who we happen to think is real, and not a character.

I was trying to think about why I associate Christmas with joy and happiness as an adult, since I can’t remember any specific family traditions.  The only thing I consistently came up with was this: family, faith, food, music and laughter.  Those were our family’s traditions.  I’m not saying that’s the right way go, and, really, given a redo, I’d try harder with my kids.  But, in my family, that’s how it was done.

I don’t know what memories I’m helping build for my kids.  Hard to tell at this point, really.  It’s not like Scott offers me any help.  He’s not one to play his pan flute, while we gather around the piano for a merry holiday sing-a-long.  I’m kind of on my own with this stuff.

Here’s a picture I love.  This is after the Christmas eve service when I was young.  My older sister, Gail, and I are laughing about something.  I wish I knew what.  I’m drinking out of a fancy little mug.  I bet it was egg nog.  YES!  We did have a tradition.  Egg nog was a tradition.  Way to keep it simple, Mom:

christmas egg nog

Another tradition my family had growing up was this little elf my Mom brought out every year.  Believe it or not, I’ve blogged about this guy around Christmas last year.  That’s how special he is to me.  My sisters and I LOVED him.  Let it be known, this guy was around 40 years before anyone ever thought of “Elf on a Shelf”.  I don’t know how I was lucky enough to inherit him, but I did.

This year, we’re in the process of refinishing our basement.  That means all the Christmas decorations are buried somewhere in the garage.   I’m smart enough to take a pass on entering that house of horrors. The only decorating I’m doing this year is our little tree, and our little elf.  I did find the elf.  He gave me a really good idea.

The night Olivia was mourning the traditions that never were, I thought that I could start a new one.  My kids are too old for the real Elf on a Shelf, but how about “Teenage Elf”?  He looks like he could get into some Christmas trouble, right?
Here’s day one:

teenage elf

Oh, Olivia, I sure hope you didn’t want the rest of that sparkling cider. I was thirsty…..Your Friend, Teen age Elf.

Oh, that naughty little guy drank the last of the sparkling cider Olivia and her friends bought.  Looks like a lot of mischief to me.

I went to great lengths to get Olivia to discover Teenage Elf’s antics before school.  Scott did too.  Olivia woke up, and walked into the kitchen for breakfast.  Naughty Teenage Elf was laying on the counter by the coffee pot.  Scott told Olivia she looked like she needed a cup of coffee.  She looked at us real grouchy, and said, “What?”, and turned around to walk out of the kitchen.

I said, “Olivia, please.  Just get some coffee.”

She turned towards the coffee pot, and then she saw him.  She kind of laughed a little.

I expected more.

I said, “Oh, would you look at that Teenage Elf?  Boy, was he up to no good last night.  Tell me he didn’t drink the last of your sparkling cider?  That’s so mischievous! Who knows what kind of antics he’ll be into before Christmas?”

Nothing.

She just smiled again, and walked out of the kitchen to get ready for school.  Well, I’m not a quitter.  I’m certain this guy can bring happy memories of Christmas traditions to my teenagers,even if I have to ram the little sucker down their ungrateful throats.

When Zeke came in to the kitchen, I tried again.  “Zeke,  look who visited last night, Teenage Elf.  And, look at what he did.”  I pointed to the cider guzzling elf.

Zeke said, “What do you mean?”

I Explained, “You know, TEENAGE ELF!  He’s like Elf on a Shelf, only he’s Teenage Elf, because you guys are all teenagers, and Olivia wanted a Christmas tradition.  So, I’m starting a fun Christmas tradition with Teenage Elf?”

“What’s Elf on a Shelf?”

Holiday traditions can suck it.

Parent Teacher Conference Fail

This week we had parent teacher conferences.  I’d like to tell all the parents with young children out there this: whatever your teacher said about your kindergarten child this year, is only a slightly different version of the same speech you will hear from your child’s High School teachers. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard this before, but leopards can’t change their spots.  You got what you got, sister.

That blonde, curly haired, black eyed cutie pie that got in trouble for entertaining his friends by squatting like a monkey on the toilet in Kindergarten,  WILL be getting in trouble for  wearing an obscene wrestling singlet under a robe, which he unveils during a high school Spanish presentation.  Just a couple of vague examples here.  I wouldn’t know anything about a kid like this.  I just know you’ve got your hands full.

I kinda know what my kids’ teachers are going to say about my kids before they even say it.

I told Scott that maybe I wouldn’t go to conferences this year.  He’s a teacher, and he thought that idea wasn’t a good one.  So, I went.  Or, at least I tried to go.

At some point in the busy week, Olivia was shoving this paper in my face.  “Sign up for conferences, Mom.”  I did.  Olivia told me what time and day I signed up for, and I told myself I’d remember.

Only, I didn’t remember. That must come as quite a shock to you.  I’m sorry for that.

I called the school on the day of conferences to ask them to confirm the time I should be there.  The person at the front office nicely said, “Your conference time is 5pm. Yesterday.”

What?  Olivia told me the wrong night.   It’s not like her to be wrong about the details.  She lives for that stuff.  If she’s not careful, I’m not going to let her be in charge of my calendar any more.

I asked the person in the front office which teacher my conference was with, assuming I had actually been there.  The front office person said the teacher I needed to see depended on which “team” Olivia was on, “A” or “B”.   She rattled off some teachers’ names.  I pretended to know which teachers Olivia had, because what kind of parent doesn’t know that?  I’m better than that.

Front office person says, “Oh, then your conference was with Ms. so and so.”

Great.  I knew what to do next.   I crafted a clever, humble and kind email to Olivia’s teacher. I let Olivia’s teacher know how sorry I was for standing her up at the conferences.   I explained that Olivia was enjoying school very much, and to please let us know if there were any concerns, or anything we could to do help.  I think I made some attempt at being witty towards the end of the email, and then, of course, thanked the teacher for all her dedication and hard work as it pertains to our daughter.

That night I told Olivia about the missed conference.  I told her I was a little surprised that she had the wrong date, but it wasn’t a problem, because I sent a long and nice email to her teacher, Ms. So and so.

Olivia said, “What?  Ms. So and So isn’t even my teacher!  Why would you do that?  MISTER So and so is my teacher.”

There you have it.  A story on how to fail at conferences.  I hope you feel better about who you are today.

Generally speaking, my kids are being responsible students, and enjoying school.  Can we just leave me out of it?  I don’t think I’m helping.

You know what else I’m not winning at?  Dieting.

I had this loony idea that it would be fun to have  a family weight loss contest with my sisters and their adult children.  6 weeks to see who could lose the most weight.  Final weigh off is on Thanksgiving.  Winner takes home about about 80 bucks.

Here are my before and afters:

walking posterabs

You can see that I’ve really leaned out here.  Which is cool, because I didn’t even know I could look better than I already did.  Scott’s so bad with technology.  I can’t believe he cut my head out of the after shot.  Plus, he caught me right in the middle of measuring my waist, silly.  How do you use a tape measure again?   They’re tricky.

All participating family members are self-reporting.  We’re on the honor system.  Suckers.

Some of my family members are reporting 5 pound, 7 pound and 10 pound weight losses.  I have lost 8 pounds.  Or, .8 (point 8), actually.  Who wants to get all bogged down with decimals?  I just like to keep things simple.  .8, round up to 8.  Simple.

Uhggg!!!  Losing weight is so hard.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re healthy, Miki.  Be grateful for the body God gave you, Miki. You already look A.MAY.ZINGGGG, Miki!!!!  Well, the first two things, anyway.  I just like having goals, and I like being on the lower end of the 10 pound swing my body finds most comfortable.  The older I get, the more naturally my body settles on the upper end. Plus, I have my fitness modeling career to think about. I haven’t gotten it off the ground yet, but I have always thought this could be a real money maker for us.

Some of my family members are doing some well thought out weight loss programs.  My program is one I made up.  It’s two steps: no cream in my coffee and no potato chips.  So far, I have not used cream in my coffee…on some of the days.   I think I’m getting awfully close to not eating potato chips too, and I certainly should get credit for that. Have you had potato chips lately?  They are so good.  I mean,  seriously good.  Especially when you’re jamming them in your mouth while you make dinner.

Anyway…I made up the stupid contest, so I can change the rules.  I think I’m changing the rules to, I win.

Ebola, Prisoners and Scary Stuff

Don’t you like it when bloggers like me say, “I’m sorry.  I just haven’t had time to post.”

Absolutely no one in the world cares when an every day blogger hasn’t blogged.  Those are just the cold hard facts.

But, I’M BACK!!!!  Never you fear, my friend.   I’ll be blogging from the grave.

Speaking of fear.  Ebola. Can I just say that me and my fellow hypochondriacs don’t need this?   I can turn a scratch on my arm into stage 4 Brain Cancer.  What am I going to do with bleeding eyeballs?

Don’t think I haven’t been making plans.  I told my family they were no longer allowed to talk to people in person.  They’ll be home schooled now, and I think we’ll be just fine with all the canning I did this summer.  Plus, Scott has all that smoked meat out back in the shed.  We should be good for quite some time.

Not true.  We’re totally screwed. We don’t garden, hunt, sew or home school. We’re so squarely on the grid, we might own it.

I meant to get off the dang grid.  Why do I have to be so forgetful?

I HAVE been talking to my family about improving their immune systems.  I heard that can help. But, I’m always preaching that.  That’s not really new.

My family is excited, because all this Ebola hype means that we’re going to have even less fun stuff to eat in our house.  And, they won’t get away with forgetting their vitamins.  That’s how you fight Ebola, with a vitamin.  I’m surprised the CDC didn’t think of that.

I was talking to my kids about Ebola at the dinner table.  I thought I was calm, and appeared unafraid.  I guess not.  Olivia’s hands started to shake.  She told me to just stop talking about it.  Yeah.  That’s not funny.  I promise, I stopped.  She’s a younger version of the big Fraidy Cat she calls, Mom.  So, I have to be careful with her.

Zeke told Olivia to stop being afraid.  He said, “So what if we get Ebola?  Then we get to go to heaven.”

Sometimes you just need kids to tell you it’ll be alright.

I admit it.  I’m prone to hysteria.  I hate that about me.

It’s just that lately I totally get it.  I get that the world is scary, and evil is real.  When I was reading the Ebola coverage, I clicked on a video about South American prisoners throwing prison guards from the prison roof.  I thought it was going to be a story to read.  It wasn’t.  It was a video.  Before I could process what I was watching, I saw these prisoners with Klu Klux Klan type white hoods on, literally pushing men off the roof.  One prisoner dangled a guard with a rope tied around the guard’s ankles.  I can’t believe I saw that.  I didn’t finish watching it.  Usually I avoid terrifying images.  Now those images are caught in my head.

Maybe I imagined it?  I’m not entirely positive,  but  don’t look it up.  I’m serious.  Don’t.

I didn’t actually sleep much the night I saw those images.   I slept for a while, but then I started dreaming about those prisoners.  I woke in a state of terror.  Then, I started thinking about Ebola.  Then, I wondered who’s dumb idea it was to never have any liquor in the house.  I was pretty edgy.

I started praying.

I begged, “God, just stomp it out.  Stomp out the evil.  You know you can. Why don’t  you?”

Then, God answered with a large roar from the heavens. Oh, wait.  That was Scott snoring.

I didn’t hear anything audible.  But, I thought something.  I don’t think it was my own thought.  I think it was a thought God was nice enough to give me.  I think He reminded me of how simple things are.    He reminded me that the ability  I think I have to control things  is an illusion. At any moment, I am one plague away from a completely different life.    I always forget that.

He reminded me that this comfortable illusion keeps  me insulated from the truth.  The truth that evil is real.  Evil is real whether or not I believe God is real too.   But, here’s the part that’s awesome. I do believe God is real;  I believe He wins.

I thanked God for the path He’s given me, given my whole family.  I thanked him for the comfort  I feel from Him.  I thanked Him for staying up late with me and listening to my heart.  I thanked him for giving me comfort when I’m scared of plagues and prisoners.  I thanked him for a battle that He’s already won.

I can’t remember what else I thanked him for, because that’s when I fell back to sleep.  And, that’s why I’m glad we believe God is real.  Because I can’t imagine a world with Ebola and scary prisoners without God.

Duplicity

I keep thinking of the word duplicity.  Here’s what it means:
 
 
1. contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action;especially :  the belying of one’s true intentions by deceptive words or action.
 
 
2. the quality or state of being double or twofold
 
 
 
I was going to describe my behavior with the word duplicity; I know that I am two things at that same time.  I don’t think I’m all deceptive about it though.   I’m the second definition: I’m straight up about my duplicity.
 
Scott and I have made a HUGE decision.  It occurs to me that this would be a fun place to write something outrageous.  Something to really capture your interest (ie divorce/sex change/joining the circus).  Nothing cool like that happens around here. So, I’ll just tell you the truth.
 
 
We have decided to hire professional people to finish our basement.
 
 
This is monumental.  We are extending ourselves more than I’d like.  We’ve talked about it, prayed about it, thought about it, and now it’s done.  Well, not the basement, but the extending ourselves part.  This is a calculated risk we’ve decided to take.  As long as the economy doesn’t crash, or we  don’t all contract Ebola, odds are this risk will not take us under.  It might be a risk that will at some point, give us a return on our investment.  Maybe.
 
 
So, that’s scary.
 
 
We meant to finish the basement ten years ago, when we moved in our cute house; a bad roof, bathroom, central air and sick kid later, we decided we’d just have to make do.  For several years, Eddie and Zeke were sleeping in the basement.  We worked hard to make the basement look as nice as possible.  If I put a wig and clothes on my dog, would you think he’s a human?  No.  An unfinished basement is, really, always still an unfinished basement.
 
 
Last year, we moved Eddie upstairs to see if it might make him feel better, and to get him closer to the bathroom.  Lo and behold his little brother wasn’t keen on staying in the basement by himself.  Zeke’s been sleeping on the floor upstairs for almost a year.  Here’s his bed:
 
 
20141001_065153

Zeke’s Bed

 
 
So.  That’s our story.  We’re doing it.  We’re putting a bedroom, three-quarters bath and a living space in the basement.  We’ve been cleaning out the basement in preparation.  Last week Zeke and I were talking about how this thing is going to look.  I wish I could have recorded the look on his face when I told him he was going to have a bed, and be a short distance from the new downstairs bathroom.  He could hardly believe it.
 
 
Then he asked, “What about our clothes?  Will we still keep them all in the laundry room?”
 
 
I said, “No.  You will have a closet, Zeke.  A real closet.  You’ll have a dresser too.  All of it will be in your room.”
 
 
Zeke was amazed at this news.  Like, he thought he won the lottery.  I loved that moment.  I felt happy to see Zeke get so excited, and to realize we were doing something that would improve his quality of life.  Then, we both laughed.  We realized that the level of excitement we have about a closet might be weird.  Of course, I couldn’t resist pointing out that the level of excitement he had was his parents’ gift to him.
 
 
I said, “What if you’d just had a closet your whole life?  You wouldn’t even know a closet was something to be grateful for, right? So, yeah.  You’re welcome, kiddo.”
 
 
He shook his head at me.
 
 
So, we’re doing all this, and one part of me is glad, and thinks it’s right.  And, one part of me feels bad, and thinks it’s wrong. .  We might just be getting caught up in it all.   Tricking ourselves into thinking we need “stuff” to be happy.
 
I have this gentle friend from church who grew up in a third world country very far away.  Her parents are in their 80’s now.  Her parents worked their entire adult lives on translating the Bible into the tribal language of the people they served.  Her parents’ bodies are frail now, but recently they took a risky trip to this distant land to deliver the finally completed Bibles.  These missionaries weren’t about to pass up an opportunity to cross the finish line.
 
 
This same gentle friend has a young daughter who is also now a missionary. She’s in Guatemala.  I read her blog this week.  She thinks  the Guatemalans have a culture that emphasizes gratitude.  She explains that they have customs and language to express their gratitude. She can’t find an equivalent counterpart for these customs in the United States. Then, she talks about how the children she works with name what they are grateful for: learning, school, food, etc.
 
 
See?  They’re not spoiled. No one mentioned closets.
 
 
I read this sweet girl’s blog, and I  envied her.   She is not one bit confused about what is  necessary and what is indulgence.  I thought maybe I would like to work in the world she describes some day, where there’s no confusion.   A place where family, food, shelter and education are revered as life’s greatest blessings.
 
 
I sent the blog to Scott.  He emailed back and said he longs for a simpler life, serving others. He said maybe we could do this kind of work when the kids are older.  
I  replied, “Did you really just say that?  I was thinking the same thing.”
 

Katie and her Guatemalan friends

 
So, that’s an idea.  We’ve had that idea before, when we were young.  We went as far as talking to people in a Guatemalan orphanage about how they could use us.  The answers didn’t seem very clear.  Then, roofs, kids, and basements made us forget. I’m starting to remember now.
 
 
I bought a print to put on the wall in our house. I’m going to frame it and put it up by the door when all of remodeling is done.  Scott and I were looking for something that would be like a blessing for the kids as they walked out the door.  Normally, I’m kind of hasty about choosing home decor.  Not this time.  I searched and searched the interwebs.  I wanted something that would almost be like our family motto.  I found it:
 
 
In everything give thanks - 1 Thessalonians 5:18 - Typography Wall Art - 8 x 10 or larger print - inspirational quote Bible verse

Family Motto

 
 
 I showed Scott the poster online.  He said, “Yep. That’s it.That’s the one.”
 
 
We liked this verse.  We know that every time our children walk out our door, we lose our ability to protect them.  They will experience disappointment, hurt, rejection, jealousy and anger.  We can’t stop those things from happening.
 
If our kids have this verse hidden in their hearts, and they believe it and practice it, they will be content in all circumstances.  It won’t occur to them to feel sorry for themselves.   I can’t think of a better family motto than that.
 
 

Cotton Candy and the Kardashians

I get so mad when my life doesn’t know I’m a blogger.  It’s all crazy and busy, and I’m like, “Excuse me?  I’m a little bit of what you call a blogging genius over here.  Could we make some room for that?  I mean, someone has to save humanity through blogging.  It may as well be me.”

My life doesn’t listen.  It just stays all high speed and wild; never giving me a chance to think.   I crave time to think. I miss it when it’s gone.

I’ve been thinking a lot about humanity lately.  What a complicated, beautiful heap a crazy that is.  I just read one of my new favorite books that made me think about humanity even more.  Have you read, “Hiding Place”?  This book is a biography about Corrie Ten Boom.

Apparently, I am the last Christian on Earth to read this book.  The story is freaking me out.  Whenever I mention it to a Christian friend, they’re all, “Oh, I know.  I read that book 8 years ago.”  Show offs.

Corrie Ten Boom is just this wonderful, amazing, incredible embodiment of strength.  I can’t believe someone like her existed.  It seems impossible.

ten-Boom_Corrie

Corrie Ten Boom was Dutch.  She came from a loving, Christian family.  During World War II, Corrie and her family helped with the Dutch underground network.  They  assisted Jewish people with avoiding concentration camps and death, actually.

Corrie had a secret room built in her own bedroom.  When the Gestapo finally discovered Corrie and her family’s illegal activities, they stormed Corrie’s home. Corrie’s Jewish friends snuck into the secret room, and survived the raid.  Corrie and her family saved their lives.

Corrie and her family were sent to prison, and then Ravensbruck, a concentration camp.  Corrie was in her 50’s when she went to prison. Things got ugly.

This is a beautiful story.  I cannot explain how much Corrie and her family members moved me to want to be better at being human.  I cannot explain how much their faith in Christ renewed fervor in me for things unseen.  If you’re sort of anti-Christian, because Christians act all know-it-ally and holier-than-thou-ee, you’ll like Corrie Ten Boom and her family. They aren’t like that.

Have you read “To Kill a Mockingbird”?  That’s another favorite of mine.  Atticus is the only other character in my history as a reader that has moved me in the way Corrie Ten Boom has.  Too bad Atticus was fictional.  I think Atticus and Corrie Ten Boom should have gotten married.  They’d make extraordinary humans together.  How is that relevant here?  I don’t know why you want to talk about stuff that can’t even happen.  It just seems silly.

Atticus and Corrie Ten boom touched my soul because they both have a super human quality.  Humility.  They have unnatural ability to suffer humiliation with dignity.  In Corrie’s case , she claims her strength is not her own.  In fact, more than once when she’s at the end of what she can bear,  She admits it to us and to herself.  She tells God that she’s just out of strength; If he means for her to keep going, He must sustain her.

Right there.  That is the part when Corrie is revived.  Her strength is renewed. It’s almost like God wants her to get to the end of herself, to see His power to carry her is real.  Not a fairy tale.

Here’s what else I love, love, love about Corrie Ten Boom.  She does not judge.  She’s filled to overflowing with love for humanity. She works feverishly to meet the needs of those around her.  At one point she described celebrating Christmas and Hannakah with her Jewish friends. She spoke with respect of her Jewish friends.  She did not cast herself in a superior light.  It sounded beautiful.

Corrie figured her whole purpose on this Earth was to show Christ’s love.  She talked about it all the time.  But, more importantly, she showed it.  She didn’t try to convince people.  She didn’t engage in debates. I love Corrie.  Did I mention that?

I want to be like Corrie.  I want to know why I am here.  I want to remember that I have been called by Christ to love.   I want to make loving people my mission: Christian people, Jewish people, gay people, heterosexual people, Morman people, atheist people, all people.   That’s the point.

These are the kinds of thoughts I’ve been having.  They’re big thoughts. I was pondering Corrie’s dependence on Christ when I became distracted by Kim Kardashian.  It’s true. Sometimes that’s on at our house.  Olivia discovered this show on Netflix.

Do you know what happens when you are contemplating the love of Christ and saints like Corrie Ten Boom, and you’re yanked from your thoughts with angry voices arguing over a prada purse?  Or you catch sight of a 13-year-old girl showing her sister how to use a stripper pole?  It’s harsh.

It’s like being snuggled up in a warm quilt on a cold day, and having the quilt stripped away and ice water poured on you.  Or, it’s like eating a deliciously sweet apple and biting into a worm.  It’s alarming and abrupt.

I’ve been reading better books lately; books about inspiring people.  I’ve been trying to meditate on more scripture too.  I guess I’ve been doing a little too much of that, because I’m now officially unable to tolerate the Kardashians, or real housewives, or any other screaming, materialistic, self-serving reality TV personalities.

See how far I’ve carried my Corrie Ten Boom lessons?  In my world,  you love everyone expect for the people on reality TV.

I should probably tell Olivia that she isn’t allowed to watch the Kardashians.  But, I’m not going to do that. Not yet.  I think the Kardashians and folks like them are causing us to crave entertainment that is as good for the soul as Cotton Candy is for our body.  Cotton Candy is sweet on impact, but offers no nutrients to sustain us. We eat it because it tastes so good and harmless. But, a diet of cotton candy will make us sick and lethargic. And let’s face it, cotton candy is gonna slowly crowd our organs and skeleton with globs of fat.  Which is really bad, mostly because all those globs of fat will make our butts look big.  Sometimes I just get all caught up in this complicated theology.  It’s hard for the common person to even understand me.

Let me say it this way: Cotton candy offers us nothing but taste. That’s it.  That’s all you get out of it.  Oh, and a big butt.  If you want that, you should eat it.

If you like the Kardashians, I hope you don’t think I’m judging you.  Hah!  I have some ladies over in New Jersey and Orange County who I want to eat cotton candy with all the time.  I have SUCH a hard time saying no to those gals.

I’ve explained my position to Olivia.  Because, I’m Corrie Ten Boom’s protoge, remember?.  Corrie Ten Boom doesn’t judge.  She doesn’t tell other people how to live.  She just follows the path God lays before her, and loves everyone along the way.  Christ’s love through Corrie draws people towards her.  Towards Him.  He changes people through her.  It’s beyond her control. Corries friends are on their own paths. She’s not in charge of changing their direction.

I’ll keep loving Olivia, and eventually she’ll leave the Kardashians, because God is calling her there.  Yes, I’ll have loved her into it, because that’s what I learned from Corrie Ten Boom.  That, or I go bat crap crazy when I hear those Kardashian girls fighting over another dress.  Then, I’ll smash the TV in the driveway.

I’m not very good at this, Corrie.  I think I need to read the book again.

corrie ten boom quote

It is NOT Cancer

I thought I was going to have a busy week at work.   Instead, I’m at the hospital.  I’m not here for me.  I’m here with my sister.  I’m here FOR my sister.

My sister, Heidi, and I are two years apart.  Exactly two years apart. Two years to the day.

Heidi and I are a lot alike.  We look alike; we  sound alike.  We can even trick our husbands on the phone.  Those guys  love it when we do that.

Heidi and I are alike, but we are also very  different.  Heidi is calm, humble, slow to speak, and a little shy.  She is gifted in music, and she loves hanging out in her garden.  Yeah.  We’re so different.

When we were little, our family would accuse Heidi and me of having a secret language.  In a large group, we could often be found whispering to each other.  We were probably being rude. I don’t even remember what we were saying .  I think there is a decent chance I was being a jackwagon, and Heidi was laughing. Heidi was always an appreciative audience.  She thought I was funny;  for some reason she liked listening to me talk.  We all know I have plenty to say.

Sometimes,  all that talking got me in to trouble with people.  Still does.   Heidi was quiet, but she was strong.   I think she would have made a great warrior, in a different time and age. When my talking got me in trouble, Heidi came to my defense.  I think we were a little bit like Romona and Beezus.  I never meant to get myself in trouble, but there I always was.

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When Heidi left for college, we wrote each other all the time.  That is so weird.  We wrote actual letters on actual paper.  We gave those letters to a messenger pigeon, and hoped for the best.  No, we aren’t exactly that old. We at least knew to put the messages in a bottle.

When it was my turn to go to college, I followed Heidi.   We were suite mates my Freshman year.  If it weren’t for falling in love with our husbands, I’m pretty sure Heidi and I would have stayed roommates throughout life.  We would have been like those elderly sisters who lived together in “Little House on the Prairie”.  I really get those ladies.

Heidi and I have talked to each other almost every day for our entire lives.

Heidi has been having some health issues for a while.  On the 4th of July she and her family hosted all of our relatives at her house.  I could tell she had her brave face on the entire day.  She didn’t feel good.  She had a fever.  We thought that she had a cold.

A month later, Heidi still wasn’t feeling good.  She still had a fever.  She also had severe abdominal pain.  She went to the emergency room one night.  The Doctor there told her she had a large tumor on her ovary, other cysts,  and lesions in other places you don’t want lesions.

The Doctor had some big long name for the tumor.  I don’t remember the whole word, I just know that “carcinoma” was part of it.  The E.R. Doctor said that she needed to see an oncologist right away.  Before she left the E.R., the Doctor asked her if he could pray with her.  That is a super good way to scare a patient.

Heidi couldn’t get in to see the oncologist for a week or so.  Meanwhile, everyone in the family was praying for the best, planning for the worst.  We’ve had the worst happen before.  We aren’t so naive any more.  We all know that one moment you can be laughing and eating dinner with your family, and the next  you’re on the floor, hyperventilating in a public place.  Bad stuff happens.

I learned everything I could about ovarian cancer.  It’s a sad thing to learn about.

I asked God how he thought I could live without Heidi.  I couldn’t picture it.  But, of course, God can ask you to do all sorts of things you never thought you could do.  We can’t do it.  Not on our own, anyway.

I was feeling really sorry for myself, and sorrier for Heidi.  I was sorriest of all for Heidi’s family.  I was making a secret plan in my heart.  I thought there was a chance it might help Heidi’s family a little to know that I could be strong.  Maybe if I was strong, some of my strength would spill over into their hearts, and help them be strong.  I decided that this thought would be the motivation I needed to keep my head above water.

Heidi’s oncologist took one look at her, and told her he did NOT think she had cancer.  I guess people with cancer look like they have cancer.  Heidi’s blood work indicated that she did have cancer, so did the tumor on her ovary.  Still, the doctor wasn’t buying it.  He said she looked too healthy.

The Doctor was right.  Heidi has Endometriosis. The Doctor said it was a severe case; he took all sorts of things out of her body.

Now I am in the hospital.  I’m watching my sister sleep. She is in a lot of pain.

Endometriosis is nothing to be happy about.  But, we are really happy about it.   I have thanked God for allowing Heidi and I more time together on Earth.  I trust Him.  I have been thanking Him for a lot of things lately.  Mostly, I am thanking Him for reminding me that my time on Earth is just a short stay.  I should make the best use of my stay.  I should be grateful, industrious, loving, forgiving and faithful.  I wish I didn’t need reminders.

I wish people didn’t get cancer.  I wish everyone had perfectly healthy bodies, and could live together forever without any problems.  Well, I guess we are going to do that, just not yet.  Not here.

Right now is the time to understand that happiness, joy, pain and suffering are all to be embraced.   I for sure think we are on Earth  to have fun;  I also think we’re here to be refined.  We’re here to learn and to grown.  Hard stuff makes me grow.

My sister Katy sent the rest of my sisters and Mom this beautiful passage while we were waiting for Heidi’s diagnosis.   I don’t know why I loved these words so much.  I do.  I have reread them many times. I don’t always get what God is trying to tell me.  I so get this.  It’s becoming my life’s motto:

 

A Time for Everything

1There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

4a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

9What do workers gain from their toil? 10I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yeta no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

old miki and heidi

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