Albania

Note: Pastor Kurt is the children’s minister at my home church. God plants people and we are so thankful that He planted Kurt and Renee with us.

 

“Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” –  Matt. 4:19 Several months ago, my wife Renee and I were asked if we would be interested in spreading the gospel to kids in Albania. W…

Source: Albania

Struggling to find the joy 

Life, I have decided, is very much like a roller coaster. I vacillate between feeling the dread of upcoming dips, much as I used to fear the first big downhill rush of our local amusement park’s wooden ride nicknamed “The Nightmare”. The coaster would slowly crawl upwards, creaking and swaying, as it approached the crest crowned with a huge sign: “LAST WARNING: Do Not Stand Up, Sit Down!” (Yes, the sign was posted because someone lost their life doing just that.) 

So my current gut feeling is that slow crawl. I just know there is going to be a huge drop. An aunt died this week who lived in another state, and her funeral services are Saturday. But because my mother is having health issues and I am an only child, I am not comfortable leaving her here even for a day–Murphy has a heyday with my life. (And her maiden name was Thompson–so that corollary holds true as well for us. Murphy WAS an optimist.)

 A classmate and childhood friend died recently of colon cancer. He insisted on no funeral, wake, or anything sad. Instead, he wanted folks to have celebrations. So, in the towns where he lived and worked as a newspaper editor and publisher, they are planning celebrations this weekend. Our hometown cronies are planning one as well.  The one here will be attended by his two brothers who are still living and I expect there will be many in attendance. One of my cousins is emcee of this venture, having been asked by our friend to do this for him. A last hurrah if you will. 

But, there is joy. My aunt is reunited with my uncle, the love of her life, and with our Jesus. Even when she couldn’t voice her needs otherwise, she recognized both those names: Raymond and Jesus. So there is joy in that she is finally at peace and no longer struggling in a failing body. 

My friend Richard is no longer in pain. He had every right to complain bitterly as cancer insidiously ate away at his body. Instead he shared his journey publicly with humor and honesty. Our social media circle of friends mourn publicly, putting on brave faces but all the while missing his voice. It’s unnatural to be happy at such a loss. So for now I am going with the thought that his fight is finally over. 

As a Christian, I understand we are to be joyful because “we do not grieve as those without hope.” But as a human, my feelings are getting the better of me this season. I concentrate on being thankful for my current good health, my family’s love and concern, and the promise that faith will carry us through to the end of this wild ride. 

Changing With the Times

I was told just fresh out of nursing school that I would need to learn to be flexible, and that the healthcare world was going to change. Now, 35 years later, it has, and yet it hasn’t. The media is so full of talk about the Affordable Care Act, Congress, and the evils  of insurance that one wonders what the “change” really is.  But in nursing, and in the hospital setting, changes are big and not necessarily in the right direction. We talk about productivity instead of what we can REALLY do for our patients. Administration makes changes based on budgets and bottom line profit numbers, and yearly at the fiscal changeover we are threatened with job cuts and mergers because “we just aren’t making any money anymore.” 

So the actual number of beds are cut that we can place patients in. And yet the patients STILL come, and they are sick . REALLY sick. But we are still hearing “do more with less”. Patients and their families are angry when they get here because it has taken so long to get care–because they have been telling caregivers they don’t feel well, they feel they were not listened to.  And it still falls back on the staff, whose hands are tied. 
“Do more with less”…right. 

Tell that to the patient who just wants to feel like someone cares, and who wants to get well. 

Are Christians Supposed to Be Counter-Cultural?

A voice of reason in the calamity and chaos of today’s social media.

Pure Purpose

Counter-cultural was one of those trendy phrases a few years ago. I still hear it often, especially as a call to Christians to be counter-cultural.

I get it. Our lives are supposed to reflect truths and choices that run against the flow of the world, but…

We still breathe the same air, swim in the same water, use the same roads, work in similar places, and so on.

Many groups and movements have used the phrase counter-cultural through the years. Google it, and you’ll find it listed alongside words, people, and movements in history, such as Woodstock, Vietnam, race relations, middle class, and much more. At its very root, counter-cultural simply describes a subculture’s rejection of a mainstream way of doing things. In a sense, perhaps Christianity has always been counter-cultural, but we need to be careful in wearing it as a badge of honor or identity.

People already know…

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An Open Letter to Whoopi Goldberg….We most certainly WERE Listening

As a nurse still actively working, it warmed my heart to see such overwhelming support for a young nurse’s talent. This is one instance where we did NOT eat our young!

Rebecca's Ramblings

Since I saw The View’s so-called “apology” clip on social media, I’ve given this post a tremendous amount of thought. My first instinct and knee-jerk reaction was to sit down with my laptop and blast them with full force…unload my anger  and outrage onto the page…err…computer screen…so I could purge it and get all of that negativity out of my system. I’ll admit, I even got about a quarter of the way through that piece, when I stopped to re-read it. It was a scathing, searing diatribe that quite frankly, made me ashamed of myself. It sounded like something that the View Crew would say…it was petty, spiteful, angry and distasteful. That’s not who I am as a person, a writer or more specifically, a nurse. Quite frequently, I end my blog posts with a sentence urging my readers to be kind to each other. I am a tireless advocate for tolerance, peaceful coexistence and doing…

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An Open Letter to Joy Behar

Source: An Open Letter to Joy Behar

Well written, thought out, and professionally done. I cannot state it any better!

33 things to give up for Lent

Being from a faith tradition that did not observe Lent with fasting or giving up things, I never really understood the practice. Several bloggers I follow have written posts that helped clarify my understanding in recent years, but this particular post lists things to give up besides food, and is entertaining, but also reflective. Enjoy.

300 words a day

Lent_For_Non-LentHere are some unexpected things to give up for Lent.

(from Lent for Non-Lent People: 33 things to give up for Lent and other readings.)

  1. First place in line.
  2. The last piece of pie.
  3. Second thoughts about commitments.
  4. “Just five minutes more” (when they keep you from family).
  5. The last word.
  6. A fifth. Of something.
  7. A quarter-pounder.
  8. Forty cents a day. (It adds up to $12 a month and over a year and with 100 other people, gives a village in Africa water.)
  9. 1400 characters (or a day without tweeting).
  10. Three scowls.
  11. A second helping.
  12. The last place in line, which demonstrates just how humble we actually are.
  13. Dave’s Top Ten list (or whatever kept you from turning off the TV and going to bed last night.
  14. Six simultaneous projects.
  15. 10 minutes of frantic activity.
  16. The Final Four [pool] that consumes your attention for a month.
  17. One argument.

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Lent and Liberty

Am glad to hear someone else say it…

PatrickBarber's Blog

Having grown up in the Church of Christ blentut having a lot of Catholic friends, I knew a little about Lent and Ash Wednesday, but I never practiced such things.  Those things were, in the terminology of my spiritual teachers and guides, “denominational.”  That meant, those things weren’t taught or authorized in Scripture.  The conclusion or application for us, then, was that we shouldn’t participate in such ritualistic behavior.  So that’s what I thought for a very long time.

Some of those same guides, however, were pretty pumped up about wearing WWJD (What would Jesus do?) bracelets back in the day.  Was that authorized specifically in Scripture?  No, of course not.  So did that make it wrong, unbiblical, ritualistic, or sinful?

Whether it’s wearing a bracelet to help you remember your dedication to following Jesus or observing a 40-day period of fasting to commemorate the sacrifice of Jesus, anything…

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Friday Fun Facts: Vonnegut and Saab

Food for thought. If at first you don’t succeed, try something else?

Plowing the Fields

Before Kurt Vonnegut was a writer, he owned the first Saab dealership in the United States. Within a year, it failed.

For people who love his books, that’s a good thing.

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With the Expert’s Trust

I love the analogy Susan uses to describe trust and responsibility.

Pure Purpose

We went on a tour of the school where we served in Israel. Near the end of the tour, we walked down a basement hallway with a mural that was barely started. Most the length of the wall was filled with black lines, marking our paint areas. Later, we met the artist…and he was a bonafide artist. We thought he was simply a man who was capable of drawing good murals for kids. The last day we served, we found out he was a professional artist. We visited a website of his creations and were in awe…

…especially when we realized he trusted us enough to paint his creations.

©PurePurpose.org ©2014 PurePurpose.org

Sure, we were basically doing paint-by-numbers without the numbers. When we finished one job, he would grab a cup from his cart, pour in some base paint, then add a little of this color and a little of that…

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