February 28, 2013

Not our fight

When I mentioned that my word for the year is War, I didn't tell the whole story.

It scared me to have a word like this assigned to me. And then I remembered that the word I got for 2012 was scary too. It was the word Health.

I wasn't sure what to do with or think of this word. Was I expected to work on my health? This is how I understood it at first. So I started out going to the doctor. I'd been having vague but troubling pain and thought it was an ovarian cyst. The doctor, after blood tests, ordered an ultrasound. During the ultrasound the tech couldn't find a cyst on the side I had pain on so I asked her to look at my kidney since stones are my ongoing struggle. She looked....she moaned. I knew. It was full with 3 large stones and lots of little ones.

Two lithotripsies later, I finally did some research on something a friend told me about probably 15 years ago. She had recurring stones and had found out it was her parathyroid that was out of whack and after having it removed, she never had another stone! It seemed too good to be true, but I looked into it 15 years later. I had asked many doctors if the parathyroid could be the problem. They had all said that was very rare and I would have tons of stones if that were the case. So I never doubted them. And I never did my own research on it.

After my blood work in March came back with high calcium again (....always high....never explained), I did not ask my doctor what she knew about the parathyroid. I simply asked her if I could get a PTH blood test to see if my parathyroid hormone was too high. And she did order the test because I told her about the research I had done. This PTH hormone triggers a release of calcium from bones and teeth and sends it into the blood stream. It also causes a LOT of other symptoms that I never would have put all together with the same root cause. You can read about it on the Parathyroid page if you're interested. It is a lot more common than doctors have been educated to think and it is so easy to diagnose with that blood test.

My main symptoms were the stones (although not everyone has kidney stones with this) and also a growing depression and lethargy that was so alarming by summer that I seriously had the thought in the back of my mind that I was dying. I didn't know then that this was because of the hormone overload.

I put off seeing the surgeon until after my daughter's wedding in late October, but I wish I'd had it as soon as I knew my levels were high because I felt SO much better after the surgery. The wedding pictures showed me with heavy eyelids and looking very tired and worn. And that's how I felt. Three weeks later I had a simple out patient surgery to remove just one of my four parathyroid glands. They are normally the size of a grain of rice. The doctor said mine was the size of a peanut M&M, then remembering it was Thanksgiving time, he changed that to the size of a cranberry.  ;)

Now I'm feeling great and don't run out of energy by noon. I can barely remember that dreadful feeling of lethargy and apathy. And it wasn't until I was wondering about a word for 2013 that I realized that last year's word was something completely different than I had imagined. Health wasn't something I was supposed to achieve on my own.

I do think we should work to be healthier, but I'm saying my word for the year wasn't like that. It didn't depend on me. It was given to me as a gift! And I may not have picked up on God's intervention in it all if it hadn't been for my word of the year being health. He knew the journey I would be on this past year.

Realizing this helped me to understand the 2013 word War better. Spiritual warfare is active, it's a tool for us to use (every day). But it's a gift too. We don't do the fighting. We ask God to fight for us and for our loved ones, for our country and our world. And He is faithful and will hear our cry and answer us.

This year has been a time of waking up for me. I am so much more aware of things to pray about and people to pray for. I only hope I am faithful to keep alert to it because we frail humans tend to fall back to sleep so easily. Lord, keep us sharp and in tune to Your leading.

February 27, 2013


Sitting in my small group circle last night listening to them discuss our book chapter, I had more than a little significant revelations in my own thoughts.

We are reading a book by John Ortberg on spiritual disciplines, but they aren't your ordinary list like 1) Have a quiet time, 2) Pray at least 30 minutes per day...early in the morning because that's more spiritual, 3) Give tithes and offerings 4) Use your spiritual gift and serve your local church.

The disciplines he writes about are more motivation disciplines like
-the practice of celebration
-practicing living in an unhurried way
-cultivating the right motivations for prayer
-serve people, put them first
-confessing your sins to others
-listening to the Holy Spirit
-the practice of secrecy
-true meditation on Scripture
-having a well ordered heart
-enduring suffering in life

The chapter we were on last night was on the practice of secrecy. Not tooting your own horn and being the hypocrite standing in the square spouting the good works you've racked up this week.

Wow, that is convicting. As we discussed this it was evident that I need to evaluate who I am seeking to please and why I mention certain things. I do feel God's approval in my life...but I do seek the applause of people more than I should. Or should I at all? sheesh! My thinking is needing a tune up.

I'm so glad we're reading this book. It's called The Life You've Always Wanted. And I think I do want it....not because it's a way to get God to answer my prayers or be blessed by Him.

   These spiritual disciplines are not easy.
                There is not checklist about them,
                       ...they are more like purging and setting your motivation right.
But because there is JOY in that kind of life.
       It's GOOD.
            It's rewarding and it's freedom.

I want that. hmmm

February 25, 2013

Snapshots from my Monday

Today I...

...pushed the snooze button four times. This is ridiculous. It's like starting Monday morning four times! 
...dropped off my dear daughter to take the AIMS test amid an assortment of home schooled kids....some looked atypical for home schoolers, some were less than upstanding citizens who wondered if my daughter used any substances for recreation, some had the appearance of being from another country, one wore a Muslim headscarf, all looked a little displaced and stole glances of the others when no one was looking (except for me, I was looking). It was all very awkward and interesting.
...went to Sam's Club at 8:30am....very sparse with shoppers. It was nice, but there were no samples either.
...helped Charles take my car in to the shop....far, far away in Glendale. I drove my car down Thunderbird and 51st Avenue,  he drove the truck down the interstate and Glendale Avenue. He won. Drat. (I like to win)
...returned something to ROSS and picked up Maggie from her testing site. She was starving so I let her get into the church dinner potato chips. (Okay, I did too)
...went home to make some very good grilled cheesers and boss Maggie into finishing her school for the day while Emma watched Arthur on Netflix. (which does not seem fair when you are the one who has school work to do)
...took Maggie to the second hand store to shop for jeans. We only found cute shirts and shoes (both of us). ;)
...came home and started supper at 4 pm....chicken legs in the oven, glad I put a lid on it...as they went into the oven both of my kids were invited to dinner elsewhere. (more chicken for us)
...laughed as I watched Charles at the grill. He was grilling 80 hamburgers for Wednesday night church dinner and man those pups were dripping on the flames and smoking something awful. He had this very intent (and pretty cute) look on his face, most likely going over his next sermon he'd been working on all morning, smoke pouring all over and around him while he calmly day dreamed and flipped burgers serenely. 
...had Emma drop me back off in Glendale to pick up my car (we took 17 to Glendale Ave this time) on her way to her dinner with friends. We listened to Josh Garrels on the way and got a concert in full harmony and passion from both Emma and Maggie as we drove along. Good stuff!
...waited while our friend and mechanic tried to figure out why my car was making an even worse noise and shake than it had before we dropped it off. Oopsie. I did, however, get to do something I've wanted to do since I was a little kid. After a drive with the Rick, the mechanic, around the block to hear and evaluate the noise, he parked it back in the car bay to look at the engine again. I decided to stay in the car, as I have very comfy seats in my car and it was warm and cozy in there. So as I was sitting in the warm car, half day dreaming and half texting with my friend Diana, I noticed motion. I was going up, up, up into the car bay on a hydraulic lift!! I will now get to cross that off of my "some day" list. It was quite a thrill and Rick thought I was nuts.
...drove Rick's huge double, extended, lifted up truck back home because he decided he needed to evaluate my car more tomorrow. I did not want to take that road hog on the freeway, so this time I went up 51st Ave to Thunderbird...and I didn't bump into anyone or anything! ;) So proud. Very mad skills happening here.
...got home and realized I had been gone for 2 hours and the chicken legs were in the oven at 375ยบ the entire time. Oh dear.
...ate a nice, quiet supper of well done chicken and salad with my dear husband, who had just showered all the smoke off himself and cleaned the grill.
...decided to go for my walk, even though it was dark. As we stepped outside, the moon was bright and full. 

...thanked God for a wonderful life and people to live it with. We have really seen His blessings and His hand in our lives lately. Amazing.

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
    the moon and the stars you set in place—
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
    human beings that you should care for them?
 Yet you made them only a little lower than God
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
Psalm 8:3-5 NLT

February 24, 2013

Complete is relative

970 1/2 piece puzzle on the table (28 1/2 pieces in the dog)......all done. Or as done as it can be with a dog in the house.

February 23, 2013

Moonstruck over Manhattan

Our company has been fun and we're glad they are here (a pastor and wife from California). They came in the door and I told them they had to put puzzle pieces into my coffee table sized puzzle before they could eat. And they believed me! And now they are hooked.  So we've been working on this 1,000 piece mostly black, white and yellow scene of New York City at night. It's mostly done now and it's at that obsessive stage where you can't step away. (which is why I'm writing this at almost 1am)

I live in a house with 3 intuitive people. I'm the only sensing one since Bethany moved out.  I am guessing that is why they just shake their heads at me when I ask them to help me with the puzzle. Details are like a foreign language to those people. Charles and Maggie both tried to help one time each and I had to redo their sections.

And I guess puzzle pieces are delicious because the dog keeps eating them! She gets mad when we leave the house sometimes and we come home to find a few soggy pieces of puzzle on the carpet.

Now it's a 993 piece puzzle. Bad dog.

I'm driving Emma to her first grown up women's retreat in the morning to Prescott. So I'll get in on a little of the retreat before I go home. I miss being there this year!

February 22, 2013

Finding treasure

Here is something that happened while I wasn't blogging!

Our daughter Bethany got married in October. Her sisters were all bridesmaids and it was a wonderful celebration with friends from far and wide. We are so proud of her and our new son in law!

And they seem pretty happy too. :)

I wish I could give you a number on how many times we heard the phrase, "Well that's one down, three to go!" I'm sure it was more than a dozen times. 

I would only hope that they all find such a wonderful match 
and that their weddings are just as lovely and happy!

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure,
    and he receives favor from the Lord.
Psalm 18:22

(we have a little market going on treasures too!)

February 20, 2013


Strange times in Arizona today.

The only road between Flagstaff and Page (between the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell) fell down the hill. Oopsie ADOT! (they left a comment once when I talked about them on my blog....I know this road collapse not really their fault--pun?--I am just baiting for comments)

And it snowed in Phoenix! Well...we are saying it snowed. It looks like snow. The weatherman said it's not actually snow. It's graupel. Uuuuuh.....okay. I think some weather people are spoil sports! So did the news anchor. After the weather report, he said they were not going to say the word graupel again.

I agree! Although now all the songs with the word snow in them are going through my mind with the word graupel in them. I don't think it will catch on.

February 19, 2013


We had our small group here tonight. It's always a good time of meshing lives with each other. But tonight our former members who had to drop out for a while came back. They actually hijacked the night we meet and then informed us. They really wanted to be in the group again. So it's all worked out for Tuesdays and it was great to be together again.

Bruce told us he wants everyone to have their testimony ready to share at some point in the next few meetings. So that was the topic in the kitchen.  I got to hear my friend Donna's amazing testimony of how God has brought her through the past 15 years. I know God is always working, but when someone tells me the story of their faith journey it amazes me to hear how He has worked in their lives. How things connect up to show us His will, how He spoke to them or how His care was in the details of each event that happened. God's working is so personal and specific to each person. Always a unique story, always such a creative work.

And it's not about them and what a strong person they are to have gone through all they did. It's about God and how He's brought us through, so faithful to us all the way. Tonight I was amazed once again to hear this friend's story. I've known her for 6 years now, but have never heard all of her story. Why don't we make the time for that...

I'm so glad that's what small group is all about!

February 18, 2013

Crabby Abbey

Just finished watching the finale of season 3. This is the only way to make sense of it.


February 17, 2013

When joy returns

After the great reorganization to incorporate a new desk into Maggie's room, she has a lot more floor space. A single bed pushed up against the wall frees up way more space than a big full sized bed.

So tonight she celebrated by jumping and dancing all over it. What else do you do with extra floor space when you're 15? Makes sense.

It does to us anyway. Maggie's had a struggle with some depression and anxiety this year. It's been a stressful and sometimes debilitating journey. The tide began to turn when we whisked her out of school 2 weeks ago to start home schooling again (online school). Stress started to ease. She is playing piano and singing again too.

Joy has come back to our daughter, but we had to be proactive and fight for it. And we couldn't do it on our own. We had to ask for help and found it with a Christian counselor and our doctor.  Thank God His help and guidance and for the helpers in this life. God bless them.

Psalm 30:11

The Message

 You did it: you changed wild lament
    into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
    and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
    I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
    I can’t thank you enough.

February 16, 2013


We got to have lunch with our treasures today.

That is all. :)

Making room

Does this happen to everyone or just me?

We got one new piece of furniture today....a very nice desk for Maggie's room from my sister. And we ended up having to rearrange 2 rooms of furniture! It's 1am and I just finished the last load of sheets and a comforter for the 2 beds we switched from room to room.

Maggie came home from being out with friends around 11pm and went straight to bed, plopping into clean sheets... When her comforter was dry a half an hour later, I took it into her room and whipped it up into the air, landing the warm, fluffy blanket perfectly onto my smiling daughter.

Today was a really sweet day.

February 14, 2013

No Wobbling Zone

Word of the year.....


I asked God to give me a word for 2013 and I can't say that I like it, I was even kind of shocked that this is the word that kept coming to me.... but I keep getting confirmation that it's the word for me. ....or for my year...

I feel like it is for spiritual warfare. So many things are becoming very clear to me, like a curtain's been parted. I am seeing the need and I am on the assault for my family, my church, my community and people who wave their hands out of VWs as they pass by at 2:22. ;)

I picked up a book called  Praying God's Word by Beth Moore back in October of 2012. It's been sitting in the bag I carry my computer in for 3 months, unread. I fully intended on reading it, but never did. Then I got my word and the next time I was at the church office I actually opened the book. Guess what the topic is! Spiritual warfare. I had just thought it would be an interesting read....a way to deepen my prayer life. But it's all about making war on the strongholds in your life. Day to day life in the battle is not easy and it does not seem victorious. It has a whole chapter on praying with belief. Not belief in God (His Presence), but belief that He will do the things He promised and that He WILL intervene...

...and that don't mean maybe. Believing is an "oh yes He will!", not a wobbly "let's wait and see how it goes".

Words like victor and victory and victorious have been showing up consistently in my daily Bible reading. They jump out at me while I'm reading the Bible. I love that. And 6 weeks into 2013 I am already seeing victories, protection and unexpected answers. Hopefully I can share more of that as I get back into regular writing.

A reassuring thing to me was that I realized that getting a word like war was not a scary thing. Life didn't suddenly become a war zone.

It always has been.

The battle is there every day. I was just asked to join in this year. It's a gift to us.

Anyway, there it is, I said it. *raising my Sword and charging in*

February 13, 2013


As I saw my friends discussing what they'll abstain from this year for Lent, nothing seemed to jump out at me....not that I don't have a hundred things that I should give up, mind you, just nothing in particular this year. I like to practice Lent though. In the early days of our observing Lent in our family, we used to add a spiritual discipline to our daily routine, instead of giving something up. And I learned a lot through that. I also learned a lot through giving something up for the 40 days when I chose to.

However we practice it, it should be about preparing ourselves to celebrate Easter.

We step away from the things that distract us from Him
              we begin things that will be a spiritually healthy addition to our life,
                           but most importantly, we draw closer to Him.

To read a really wonderful post about Lent, go to Ann Voskamp's blog.

So for Lent this year I am ready to work on the discipline of writing again. I miss it, and I have found that writing about my experiences is an important tool for me in processing my life mentally and spiritually. God always shows me how He's working as I write out a post about my day or a life experience.  While I am actually typing it out,  God is teaching me and showing it to me as it comes through the keyboard and I see it on the page. It often surprises me what it ends up looking like when it's done.

After a long break, it's hard to dive back into blogging, but I am challenging myself. For the next 40 days of the Lent season, I am going enter a post every day, as long as I'm not incapacitated physically or my internet quits on me. It may just be a report on what we had for dinner or a Bible verse that strikes me, but I will put a post up each day and see what God's guiding me to see in it.

The fall and winter have been a roller coaster for me, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

See ya tomorrow...the Lord willing. :)

February 9, 2013


I miss snow. I love it! 

God interrupts our precision run world & brings it to a halt with a beautiful, fluffy blanket of white. And all we can do is watch it in awe and wait for Him to finish.

Enjoy it while you can.