Thursday, August 7, 2014

I named him Bert

His name is Bert.  Bert the Boulder--because a kidney stone big enough to startle the ER staff and make me think I was dying certainly deserves a name.  I would love to share a photo of Bert, but they had to blow him up with a laser on Monday.  May he rest in pieces...that do not hurt me...

I have not felt well all summer, and I now realize that Bert was quietly trying to introduce himself for the last several months, but I was being stupid.  We had a lot of summer ministry obligations, and I kept putting off a doctor visit.  By the grace of God, we made it through them all!  As it turned out, we left our last VBS program and went straight to ER, and not a moment too soon.

Bert was 7x12, and had planted himself halfway between my right kidney and my bladder, and the traffic jam he caused had given me a kidney more than twice its normal size.  It had also given me increasing pain and pressure.  I spent Sunday night in the hospital, and they blew up Bert on Monday morning.  Although they were able to retrieve most of him, a few small brothers, sisters and cousins have made themselves known since then.  I have never been in such pain.  Ever.  God bless Bert...

Although he did not try to kill me during any camps and VBS services (and I am really, REALLY grateful!), Bert has managed to completely derail our plans for some end-of-summer family fun.  My boys were hoping for long family bike rides, a trip to the zoo, and some camping; instead, they have fetched me water, plugged in my heating pad and helped me remove the child-proof caps from my medicine bottles.  I feel completely terrible about this, but I think God knew it needed to happen at home and before school started.  And He also knew that a woman who had been ignoring the pain all summer could likely not be trusted to deal with it herself, unless she was forced to by excruciating pain.

I have cried and I have slept, and I have cried some more.  I have lived in pajamas, taken the maximum dose of meds, left my bed only to use the bathroom, and ignored the combing of my hair until I looked like I was developing dreadlocks. 

I have been blessed with an understanding husband, patient kids, terrific medical staff and a church full of good cooks, who have been feeding us daily.  Friends and family have sent flowers, called to check on me, and asked their local churches to pray for me. The VBS supplies are still piled high in the living room and the laundry is overflowing, but no one has starved, or died while I was in bed.  Not even me.  God is good.

Today, I have finally started to feel as though I might survive Bert.  (For a few days, I wasn't sure.)  I even managed the strenuous task of measuring my sons and ordering school pants online.  I needed a nap after I was done, and that was ALL I accomplished today, but God has shown me that I need to take some time and rest right now.

I would appreciate prayers, as I continue to recover from the horror that was Bert.  I'd like to be well enough for the annual back-to-school shopping trip, and I need to get back to work next week, but clearly, this situation is beyond my control.  And it's time for me to go to bed.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Blogging IHC '14

I'll spare you--and me--the excuses for my lack of writing.  It's been a busy year and it wasn't at the top of the priority list.  But I miss it!  I really, really do.  I'd like to trim a few other things out of the schedule and keep the blogging.  (Can I start with giving up laundry or cleaning the toilet? Or unpacking?)

God helped in a wonderful way at IHC this week.  If you had told me a week ago that we would survive it this year, I would have laughed at you.  Or more likely, I would have cried.  That's what I was doing in an Indy dressing room not too many days ago, because I was completely overwhelmed.  There was too much to do, and not enough hours in which to do it. 

Somehow, all of it came together, hilariously and imperfectly, but beautifully.  Old friends and new ones stepped to help with the sound system and crowd control, taking pictures and teaching the Scripture.  People sent gifts to help with expenses, and loaned us supplies; strangers encouraged us and little people loved us.  I even managed to play on the platform and LIVE!  :)

The kids were amazing, and funny, and sometimes effervescent.  In case you're not familiar with it, effervescent is an old Indian word for "who gave that boy Skittles and a Redbull?", which is similar to scintillating, which is another old Indian word, for "that little girl has gone to the bathroom 7 times in the past hour.  Should I be worried or jealous?  I've had to go potty for 3.5 hours." 

Our boys were a huge help, and I am very proud of them.  Of course, I think the annual IHC picture may feature a photobomb from a boy in a horse costume, but they are Gene's children, after all.

We got no exercise at all, unless you count that I got into my control top hosiery every morning without help.  And we ate so much junk food that my feet look like marshmallows and I really, really need those control top pantyhose now...

The sermons--oh, the sermons and the music this year were worth any amount of weariness.  I dragged myself to every evening service wondering why I was there, and left feeling like God had meant some part of it for me.  Every.  Single.  Night.  (Except for a few brief moments when I was asleep in church; I am hoping they were not captured by the livestream cameras...)

And then it was over and I didn't really want to go home.  I whined my way through the cleanup of the Children's Chapel and wished it could last a little longer and I could visit with a few hundred more people.  I would probably have lingered and savored the glow, but life has a way of providing special little reality checks.

Gathering up the last armload of our supplies, I came within feet of exiting the chapel before I noticed a breeze and realized that a good portion of my skirt was wadded up with all the costumes I was carrying!  If I had waddled out like that, it would have been our last trip to IHC ever.  We would have had to change our names and move away...

That was it:  a sign from God that it was time to go home.  And so we did...    :)









Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wait a Moment

Wait a moment. 
Just one. 
Or maybe two. 
Give your response a little more thought. 
Pause and be sure you know the facts instead of assuming. 
Think carefully before allowing emotions to determine your actions. 
Guard your words.
Don't waste time worrying about hateful people. 
Choose your battles graciously, in marriage, family and friendship.
Maintain your composure in the face of adversity.
Don't rush to decide.
Forgive as you would like to be forgiven.
Step back from the growing trend of internet drama.
Gently decline unwholesome associations.
Be one who encourages peace.
Remain silent when needed.
Let it go.
Smile first.
Hug often.
Seek to develop a spirit like Jesus.

No, it's not really a poem, or a sermon either.  Just a few thoughts from my devotions this morning.  Sometimes I need to take a deep breath and count to about 50,000 while God clears the cobwebs out of my head so I can see things as they really are.  Perspective...



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Perspective, Adjusted

The summer was magnificently full, and we enjoyed the churches, camps and family free time at a gallop, as usual.  Sometimes we laughed--when water balloons went awry, and funny people happened.  Sometimes we cried--when that horrid pirate ship would NOT go together without a fight, and a dear lady told us our theme was "of the devil".  Sometimes we relaxed, caught up on sleep and visited local attractions wherever we were staying.
 
In the midst of the summer, I struggled with the yuckiness of reality.  When it ended, it would be time to return to a year that promises to be stressful, and a few (bazillion) less-than-ideal situations.  It's another in a string of transition years for us, and my impatient heart wants to rush headlong into the next phase and leave this one behind, but it isn't possible.  Among other things, I'm over grad school, and there are days when the thought of cleaning one more person's house makes me want to jump off a cliff.
 
Earlier this year, I had posted a lovely picture quote on Facebook that summed up my sentiments.  It was ever so sweet, and declared "until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway" and I loved it.  It spoke my language, and had a cute little picture.  There was only one problem:  it really isn't accurate. 
 
One morning this summer, I opened my Bible to Jeremiah 29:11 and read, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  And then I knew.  God has plans for me--Angie Davis--and they are wonderful.  And a God who has plans for me did not create hallways in which He intends me to languish while I wait for happier, easier times and greater opportunities.  He means for me to be faithful in this moment, and in the place where He has placed me.
 
Since that day, He has continually brought those words back to my heart, and it has helped to quiet my floundering spirit many, many times.  This year isn't a hallway--it's an opportunity tailor made for me.  Do I love every inch of this room?  No, but I have covenanted to do my best to bloom where I am planted---even if I often suspect I'm more weed than flower. 
 
Perspective, adjusted.  It's a God thing.  And it's a beautiful thing.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

You Just Might Be Sick...

It's Sunday (well, it's mostly gone now, but play along), it's summer and all signs point to sickness.  Not sure?  Well, let's look at the day, shall we?
 
The songleader asked everyone to stand this morning.  For two whole songs.  You suspect that he was actually trying to kill you, and it nearly worked.
 
Last week, you were a soprano.  This week?  A bass.
 
There may have been coughing.  Enough that people seated around you were foraging in their purses for TB masks.
 
The one member of the family you thought was completely healthy just exploded into a ginormous germs-everywhere sneeze.  Unfortunately for everyone, he was passing the collection plate at the time.  (You may want to consider witness protection when the epidemic wave of illness hits the entire right side of the church...)
 
You have no idea what you ate for lunch, but you've had 5 popsicles, because they made your throat feel better. That lasted for about 35 seconds.
 
You played the piano; you have no idea how it went, because you can't hear properly.  However, you strongly suspect that you may have just accidentally invented a new tempo for an old song. 
 
You're packing for a trip, and you keep re-checking each suitcase because you're bizarrely convinced that you didn't pack undies for anyone.
 
You have consumed a great deal of cough medicine.   Tons.   Enough to warrant a visit to an AA meeting.  You washed it all down with an extra pot of coffee, some hot tea and more cough medicine. 
 
You closed your eyes for prayer and woke up 15 minutes later.  In each service today.
 
There was a meeting.  You don't know what you said.  You also don't really know what anyone else said.  Hope it went well...
 
And last but not least: 
 
The congregation sang "We'll Work 'Til Jesus Comes", and you were quietly praying, "Lord Jesus, come quickly, because I'm too tired to work!"
 
 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Counting Moments

 
We're enjoying a week of shore leave from the S.S. Treasurehunter (our VBS ship's name), as we find ourselves halfway through our summer ministry responsibilities.  The boys have been to southern Indiana for a little fishing, Gene's trying to get caught up at work, and I'm washing clothes and buying school supplies.  Yes, school already--eek!
 
Housework has suffered a bit this week, and by that, I  mean that I tossed some new pillows on the couch and declared the livingroom done; I'm also using a nightmare of finding a boa constrictor in the flowerbed as an excuse to avoid pulling weeds.  Do not judge me.
 
Monday begins 2 back-to-back VBS weeks, and at the moment, 3/4 of the family is sick.  I think we brought home a respiratory virus from church camp in Michigan and everyone except Kent is achy, and sneezy, and sleepy, and all of the other miserable, congested dwarves.  (And as I type this, Kent is beginning to cough and sneeze too...)
 
This sickness is especially bad for Connor (who never usually gets sick), because he's trying to finish the last two subjects of summer work-ahead schooling so that we can be away for a few weeks this winter and not have him get behind.  He has spent most of today holding a pencil and staring at the wall with glazed eyes. 
 
On the VBS front, our beautiful pirate ship from Shindigz has been a pitiful disappointment.  It was not their usual quality by far: assembly takes HOURS and extra supplies, and the cardboard material is much thinner than our other purchases and has not been strong enough to entirely bear its own weight since the beginning.  I am desperately PRAYING it through next week, and I have an alternate d├ęcor in mind for the final VBS. 
 
We are tired, but much blessed, and I wish summer wasn't racing to a close, but I think we're ready to be home and in a routine again.  And I really, REALLY hope I make sense, because frankly, I feel awful.  If you'll excuse me, I have a date with Dayquil and hot tea. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

In The Midst of a Full Summer...


In the midst of summer bedlam, I remembered that I got a couple beautiful photos from our visit to Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati.  One of my favorite parts was the butterfly garden, and while most of the butterflies preferred to land on my colorful shirt, and my head, a few of them were kind enough to pose on a blossom long enough for me to take their picture.

We visited Krohn and also the Creation Museum during our first VBS date in Kentucky in June:  it will go down in history as one of the most relaxing weeks of summer ministry ever. 

Over the next few weeks, we have 3 more Child Evangelism dates--some local, some a few hours away.  These ones are a bit more of a challenge, and I would appreciate prayers. 

At one point, we'll be in the North Country for a camp.  It's a weeklong event with 2 children's services a day, among a lot of people I have known forever.  It's a challenge to keep things fresh and new when you've been working there for a decade now, and I am always afraid they are sick of us.  Plus, my children average 3 outfits a day, because the kids there all enjoy rolling merrily in the dirt.  Oh, the laundry!

At one point, we'll also be in the South Country for a church VBS.  It's a great group of people with whom we've never really worked closely and I sincerely hope they don't run away screaming.  They are a very musical church, and I murder simple songs on a regular basis.  They are also an athletic church, which probably means that none of them has ever made new friends by wiping out in the road in front of their house.  Many of them are hunter/gatherer types too.  Camo on the trucks, antlers on the walls.  I am pretty sure the only way there will ever be antlers on the wall of our house is if a moose wanders in, throws himself on the wall and surrenders his life voluntarily.

At one point, we'll also be in the Home Country for our own church's VBS.  This one is probably the hardest of all, because I KNOW those people are sick of us.  ;)  In order to get everyone involved, I'm busy adapting our own VBS theme to add stations so that others can participate.  At least for this one, we'll be in our own beds every night. 

God is good.  It's a privilege to work in Children's Ministry and I can't wait to see what else the summer holds. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

I Make a Terrible Blogger

If you were to ask my oldest son WHY I blog, he would probably tell you that I do it to embarrass him.  If you were to ask my youngest, he'd say it's because silly things happen around our house.  The husband has wisely been silent.
 
To prevent any misunderstanding at the onset of a new era, please allow me to give a teensy disclaimer:
 
1.  This will never be a fashion blog.  It's not that I'm hideously tacky (I think...), but I'm definitely not uber stylish and I have come to terms with the fact that I really don't care about that.  It just isn't my thing.
 
2.  This will never be a craft/DIY blog.  My neurosis and my ADD will always prevent me from being good at that stuff.  I could name at least 7 examples of my craftastrophes, but at least 4 of them are so bad that I can never share them publicly, or I'll be forced to kill all the witnesses.  Oh, the shame!
 
3.  You're not gonna see gorgeous pictures of our lives, or glimpses of an elegantly decorated home either.  I'm a dork with a camera (thank heavens for Instagram!), and I am more focused on having the house clean and organized, than fabulously decorated.
 
4.  I am a Christian and an unapologetic part of the CHM.  I want very much to be like Jesus, and I'll talk about Him here.  I will also excel at being imperfect.  Often.  Just so you know...
 
5.  Mostly, any blog I write will feature life.  Our lives.  Our weird family, and our longtime work in Children's Ministry.  I love to write, and I have a completely oddball perspective.  (Cue the chorus of singing minions any time now...)
 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Birthing a Brand New Baby Blog

Please forgive the current state of page disaster, but I miss blogging and decided it's time for a blogover.  Yes, I made that word up.  No, I don't care. 

In the interest of guarding our privacy, but still finding an outlet to write, I found myself a new niche on Blogger.  I like the name of this one much better too--now I will never again be mistaken for the breeders of ugly dogs.