Category: faith

Every Sunday night after church, a pastor and his wife have the same snack. He makes two slices of cinnamon toast, and every week he brings her the heel of the bread. One Sunday, after years of this snack, the pastor’s wife bursts into tears when he hands her the slice of toast. “Honey, what’s wrong?” the pastor asks. “Every week you bring me cinnamon toast on the worst slice of bread! What an insult!” she sobs. The poor, confused pastor stammers, “But, but, but honey… the heel is my favorite piece!”

Sometimes, when you think a person isn’t showing you that they care, they actually are showing you love in the only way they know how.

And sometimes, when you think you’ve done everything possible to tell someone how much they mean to you, it turns out that they haven’t been picking up on your message.

Love speaks so many languages. Make sure that you’re speaking the same language – or at least find some subtitles!

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A’ight, y’all – we’ve got some great advice happenin’ in the comments section and a grand total of, like, 3 votes in my totally unscientific polls. You guys!!! This is a serious plea for help! :-S Help a sistah out, get your little tuchus to the comments, and drop some wisdom on me. ….seriously…. help….

I did my first Blogger poll off to the right (for Kari, that’d be your other left….) and it looks like at least a few of you would like to hear from Chris once in awhile. I’ll see what I can do to get him blogging for a little of the male and/or medical perspective. The rest of you seem pretty happy with the status quo – more pictures! more writing! more pictures with writing! No problem. I have you covered.

******

I am so incredibly frustrated. I didn’t get Jonas in for his 15-month Well Child Checkup before we left Nashville, thinking that I’d just get him in a little early for his 18-month WCC and it would even out. When we got here, I found a D.O. in Family Practice that’s pretty near to our house and called to see if she is accepting new patients. She is – but she won’t make your first appointment until she has all your medical records. So her receptionist or office manager or whoever sent me those HIPPAA forms to fill out and mail to our old doctors. I got the one for Jonas’ pediatrician in the mail asap…. and yesterday it was returned as “undeliverable as addressed”. Well, for Pete’s sake, I sent it to the address on their website! Monday morning I’ll call them and find out the proper address. Or maybe I can fax this to them, which would speed the process a bit. At any rate, I’m starting to worry that Jonas won’t get that 18 month WCC until he turns 2!

******

New Poll starts today, and I’ll leave it up for a couple of weeks. Actually, there will be two versions: one for parents and one for non-parents. My current quandry and heartache has to do with Church Nursery. Most of you know that we didn’t take Jonas to the nursery when he was little. It was easy to wear him in a sling or carrier, let him nurse and snooze during our Sunday School and worship service, and that was that. Plus, my ideals for Attachment Parenting included not handing him off to strangers during his first year of life. Fast forward – when Jonas was about 14 months old, we started taking him to the nursery at Bellevue United Methodist in Nashville. While we were there, Chris and I never got involved in an adult Sunday School class. (I know, I know… terrible.) Anyway, so Jonas only had about 50 minutes in the nursery without us each week, and every single week it was like I was torturing him. He would burst into tears as soon as we turned down the hallway where the nursery was located. When we got to the door, he’d be clutching at my neck and screaming bloody murder.

I tried to arrive early, giving him time to get interested in the toys and other kids before I snuck away. Didn’t work. I tried to arrive exactly on time, put him in Miss Kate’s arms, and get away quickly. Didn’t work. Most Sundays, they told me that he did stop crying and get involved with a toy or a nursery helper. (He was a big fan of Blake, a 10th grade guy who volunteered in the nursery…. I suspect Blake’s motivation was being around Emma, Miss Kate’s 10th grade daughter!…. but Blake was great with Jonas, let him play with the buttons on his cell phone, you know: guy stuff. I came back to pick Jonas up at least twice and found him asleep on Blake’s lap.)

Church happens at the perfect time for Jonas’ nap schedule (he is usually up for the morning around 8:00 and ready to nap between noon and 1:00) so I don’t think it’s an issue of being overtired/ready for a nap when we drop him off.

Since we have moved, we haven’t joined a church yet. We visited at Erlanger UMC for a few weeks, and the nursery was the same story. The first week, Jonas was cool until we got into the room. It was like he saw the toys, saw the ladies, and realized it was all too familiar. Every week they assured me that he didn’t cry for very long – but when I’d pick him up he’d be exhausted and usually pink-cheeked, like he’d been crying hard. Chris and I visited the adult Sunday School and then went to the worship service, so it was also a longer stay in the Nursery – about 2.5 hours. Last week, we visted at Immanuel UMC. It’s a very big church, which is exciting for us because of all the great classes, programs, service opportunities they offer. When we took Jonas to the Nursery, we had to fill out a sticker for his back and his diaper bag, and then take a pager (like when you eat at Applebee’s). It was the same story. It was a new place, so he didn’t melt down in the hallway – but as soon as we hit the door, he lost it.

I don’t know if I can even describe what it does to me to hear him crying, see his face crumple, feel his hands gripping at my neck and shoulders. And now, he can say “Mama! Mama!” and that it like a dagger in my heart. How can I leave my precious little guy!? He has no frame of reference for this – he has no sense of time, so he really does not understand that I will be back to get him in a couple of hours. To him, it really seems like I am going to disappear through that door and never come back. I am struggling with what I should do.

Part of me thinks I should keep taking him, every week, and he will learn that it’s a safe place – a fun place. He will start to recognize the Nursery workers and the other kids, and he will learn some cute Bible songs or at the very least, he will learn that these people at Church are trustworthy.

The other part of me thinks that if he isn’t developmentally ready to be left while I walk away, then it’s senseless to push it on him. It’s like teaching him the alphabet – I could start teaching him today! But since he’s not ready for it, all my efforts will fall on deaf ears (and possibly sour him on the idea of learning it ever, if he makes a negative association with it) until he’s older and ready for the concept of letters having sounds and shapes. Similarly, maybe it would be easier to take a break from the Nursery for a few months, and try again when he is older.

I know parents who say, “My little Johnny screamed every week for six months and then he finally got over it! He’ll be fine!” but I wonder if Johnny “got over it” or if Johnny simply grew up and grew able to understand that Mommy would come back. Maybe he would have “switched on” to that concept at that age, no matter what. And if that’s the case, why torture little Johnny for six months? Why not just wait?

So, that was longwinded and if you’re still with me, then thank you. Here’s the poll. If you’re a been-there-done-that parent, what would you advise I do? (And if you choose “other” please leave me a comment with your sage advice!) If you’re not a parent yet, what do you think I should do? (Please understand that I’m separating this poll not because I value your opinion any less… but I will take it with a grain of the salt of inexperience. 😉 Heehee!)

******

A thought from the Upper Room, ’cause, yeah… I’m home by myself. Chris is on rounds. The thought of getting myself and Jonas dressed and out the door, and then enduring Nursery Meltdown 2007 by myself was just too much this morning.

In his psalms, David wrote about similar situations of being frightened and then
being delivered when God set him free from his enemies. Sometimes problems
terrify and worry us, just as conditions cause turbulence for the {airplane}
flight. In those times we may ask, “Why is this happening to me?” But as we call
upon God and trust God with our problems, we begin to understand what
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, that God “has made everything beautiful in its time.”
Beyond our clouds, God has something beautiful for us – something as beautiful
as that vivid blue sky beyond the clouds.

******

Happy Sunday. Only three weeks until Chris’ next vacation… {SIGH}

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We heard a wonderful message at church this morning and I just have to share some of it here – partly for everyone who missed it 😉 and partly for myself to come back and be reminded.

And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if [he ask] a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:5-13, KJV

There are books and videos and preachers out there, telling us they have the secret to “more successful” prayer. “More effective” prayer. There is this screwed-up understanding of what an effective prayer really is. Is a prayer only “effective” if you get what you selfishly want from God?

God has not called us to be successful as defined by the world. Instead we are called to be faithful.

We have come to expect a very narrow definition of what is “good” from God. We expect that if we pray for health and wealth and worldly success, we’ll get it. We forget that we’re already healthier, wealthier, and far more fortunate, than millions of other people around the globe. Does that mean we are more loved? Does that mean that North Americans are better pray-ers? Hardly! We need to change our attitudes and expectations about prayer.

“Seek first the Kingdom of God, and its righteousness, and then, all other things will be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:33, ?version

We just don’t get it. How many of us think that if we “seek first the kingdom,” we then have gained license to pursue whatever it is we really want from God. If we really understood what it means to seek first the kingdom… we’d be trying to love what (and who) God loves. Value what He values. We’d be trying to follow His will for our lives. If you are truly seeking the kingdom, then that bit about “all other things [being] added”? That won’t be the things you want to be added, the things you think you need to make your life really awesome or fulfilled or successful or exciting. No. Those other things being added? Those will be the things – the people, the places, the circumstances, the gifts, the challenges, the opportunities, the resources – that God knows you need. And what’s better? You come to accept them. And you come to see their Source.

I usually say God has three answers to prayer, “Yes,” “No,” and “Not yet.” If the request is wrong, God says “No.” If the timing is wrong, God says “Slow.” If you are wrong, God says “Grow.” But if the request is right, the timing is right, and you are right, God says, “Go!” -Bill Hybels, Too Busy Not To Pray

The speaker in church today challenged us to look for the fruits of our prayers. He reminded us that fruitful prayer is aimed at something specific.

If you hired a new babysitter to watch your children, would you say to her on your way out the door, “Okay, now Becky, please just be with my children in a special way tonight.” NO WAY! You would give her specific requests and directions, like “Becky, please give the kids a snack before their bathtime, and have them in bed by 8:00. And make sure they finish their homework before they play any games.”

Now, he wasn’t trying to imply that God needs our feeble little human directions to know what to do. He pointed out that he believes that God is going to do, what God is going to do. The point for us in praying specifically is that it allows US to see and recognize what God is doing in our lives or in the lives of others – making us better able to see Him and trust Him in the future, making us more in tune with His will, and making us able to point to God for the glory in all circumstances.

So all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children – calling him ‘Father, dear Father.’ For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children.
Romans 8:14-16, NLT

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I have a couple of other blogs out there – all of which are currently defunct. I started posting, made blogfriends, and then my life sort of imploded and I stopped blogging there. I still check in on my blogfriends and blogidols from time to time, just to see how they’re doing. I feel bad about about abandoning them – leaving them hanging, reading their comments that said things like, “Hey, just checking in on you, is everything okay?” I didn’t know how to come back, how to keep posting there without talking about the things that were on my mind – but, in the interest of maintaining my anonymity, things that I needed to keep private. So I simply chose to disappear.

Tonight I was surfing through my blogroll, hitting a few friends for the first time in months. One post I found at WhyMommy’s place, Toddler Planet, took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. First of all, every one in the blogosphere needs to read this information:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in
the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of
breast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I
figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be
fine.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast
cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was
red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I
wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up
the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch
biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very
aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often
misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and
consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with
this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your
OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or
any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent
itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain,
soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you
take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting
of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau
d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell
her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more
than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out
there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram.
It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the
changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or
nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

Inflammatory
breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one
of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about
it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill
her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.

And finally, please keep WhyMommy in your prayers. She’s a great mother to two little boys – and a wife to her sweet husband. She is undergoing her second round of chemo right now.

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This post is for my dear friend. I am so sorry. My keyboard is wet with tears for you tonight. There is no sorrow like the grief of a mother’s heart when she finds out her babies are gone. I wish I were there to offer a hug and cry with you together. You are in my prayers.

~Everyone else: please say a prayer tonight for all the mommies whose empty arms are aching tonight. Miscarriage is a tough road and it’s all too lonely a journey. It helps to know that others understand. It helps to know that others are praying for you, are remembering your baby, and are there to listen to you. This poem is from “Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss,” by Ann Douglas and John R. Sussman MD. It always makes me cry, but it also gives me hope.

A DIFFERENT CHILD
by Pandora Waldron (c) 1999

A different child,
People notice
There’s a special glow around you.
You grow
Surrounded by love,
Never doubting you are wanted;
Only look at the pride and joy
In your mother and father’s eyes.

And if sometimes
Between the smiles
There’s a trace of tears,
One day
You’ll understand.
You’ll understand
There was once another child
A different child
Who was in their hopes and dreams.
That child will never outgrow the baby clothes
That child will never keep them up at night
In fact, that child will never be any trouble at all.
Except sometimes, in a silent moment,
When mother and father miss so much
That different child.
May hope and love wrap you warmly
And may you learn the lesson forever
How infinitely precious
How infinitely fragile
Is this life on earth.
One day, as a young man or woman
You may see another mother’s tears
Another father’s silent grief
Then you, and you alone
Will understand
And offer the greatest comfort.
When all hope seems lost,
You will tell them
With great compassion,
“I know how you feel.
I’m only here
Because my mother tried again.”

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My child,

You are never alone. My hand is on yours, my arm is around your shoulders. You are never alone.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you
nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

I know that you are tired, that your body is weary. Your rest is in Me – the truest renewal and refreshing comes from My Spirit.

but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar
on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and
not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

You can sleep tonight because I am watching over you and your household. You are my beloved child, and I will keep you from harm.

I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O Lord,
make me
dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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