Sunday, May 25, 2008

Freedom's Never Free

“These heroes are dead. They died for liberty - they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars - they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead.” ~Robert G. Ingersoll

Philippians 1:3:
3I thank my God every time I remember you.
Psalm 23
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
As Memorial Day approaches tomorrow I am reminded of those who have served my country even unto death, in order that I might have the freedom to even make this post. Were it not for the men who served in the Revolutionary War the path to religious freedom may have been much different. I might not be free to post my beliefs and scriptures that give me comfort here. I might not be free to search for a church that fits the beliefs and needs of my family. I might have no choice but to join the National Church. I often hear a lot of controversy about this belief versus that belief; who’s are right and who’s are wrong and the like. We have these men and many more men and women who came after them to thank because they gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we are free to follow our beliefs and speak them freely. It humbles me to know that there are still those who are fighting today for a cause in which they may not believe, but they volunteered to serve. It is way beyond anything that I have ever or probably will ever do. It makes me want to make sure I take the appropriate attitude towards remembrance tomorrow. As I gather around my family I will give thanks and honor to those who were much braver than I.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Gotta Be Me

"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy."
Norman Vincent Peale

Passage Psalm 131:1: 1 My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.

Passage Psalm 139:13-14: 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

I am not a very organized person. I often wait till the last minute to finish (start?) projects. I am capable of seeing details, but the big picture is often more important to me. Math is a foreign language to me. I have a deep fear of failure. All of these negative things have a positive counterpart, but sometimes it is easier for me to dwell on the negative, especially when I am in a position of leadership. People are counting on me and I fear that the appearance is that I don't know what is going on.

I am the President of my PTA this year. The previous President was super organized and always on top of things. She is a great person and I admire her a lot, but I'm not her. I don't work the same way she does. When I was younger I would have tried to emulate her and driven myself crazy trying to be something that I am not. I have to do things the way that my instincts tell me to. It flows so much more nicely when I don't try to force things.
I am a creative person. I can only work on one project at a time. I may have to look things up (but I know exactly where to look). I learn by doing, not planning - I won't have a check list or a diagram. These traits can drive a left brained person to distraction because it may appear that I don't care or that I am not going to follow through as planned. Not so. I am dedicated and dependable, if not predictable.

This is the way I was made. For some reason God wanted me to be this way. I have to embrace that; it is the only way to have peace and success in life. Everyone is the way they are for some reason and once we quit trying to force ourselves to imitate others and be the best that we can be, the better things will fall into place. What we need is a healthy does of humble self esteem and life is good.

Fingerprints of God - Steven Curtis Chapman

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Imagine what it is like when your child can't breath. His lips turn blue. You watch helplessly as he struggles for every breath. He looks at you imploringly "do something" his eys say to you. You've tried every trick that is at your disposal, and he still struggles to breathe. Off to the emergency room you go. This is life as the parent of an asthmatic child. It sucks big time. The only thing they will be able to do at the emergency room is give your child steroids. The drugs themselves have some pretty scary potential side effects, but what is a parent to do. You have to give them to him. He will die otherwise. Not a good option, obviously, so you give him the steroids and pray that he will have no long term damage done to his bones or internal organs to deal with.
My son had his first bout with reactive airway disease (a precursor to asthma) when he was 2 months old. Every time he got a cold he would have wheezing and trouble breathing. He developed allergies and full blown asthma at age 4. When he was in kindergarten I picked him up from school one day. His lips were blue and he was struggling for every breath. He had been in PE and the PE teacher did not know the signs of an asthma attack. You better believe I informed her after that. He could have died that day. He could also have died from a life threatening allergy to penicillin. There are other times when I wondered if he would be okay.
He does everything a normal kid does. He runs, plays sports, plays the trumpet in his middle school band. He loves to fish and do all sorts of outdoor activities. He has never let it slow him down a bit. I admire him for that. He is a survivor. He not only survives - he thrives.
May 6th (Tuesday) is World Asthma Day. I am spreading the word and promoting awareness for this dreadful disease. It affects 1 in every 13 children. That is a staggering amount of children. If your child is not affected, chances are there is at least one child in his/her class at school who is. This makes it something that I feel everyone should be aware of.

Understanding Asthma Attack Symptoms
An asthma attack is a sudden worsening of asthma symptoms caused by the tightening of muscles of your airways (bronchospasm). During the attack, the lining of the airways becomes swollen or inflamed and more and thicker mucus than normal is produced. All of these factors -- bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucus production -- cause asthma attack symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty performing normal daily activities. Other symptoms of an asthma attack include:
Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
Coughing that won't stop
Very rapid breathing
Chest pain or pressure
Tightened neck and chest muscles, called retractions
Difficulty talking
Feelings of anxiety or panic
Pale, sweaty face
Blue lips or fingernails
Or worsening symptoms despite use of your medications.
For more information visit this website