Friday, July 27, 2012

Diabetes didn't keep me from being a mother, but it's keeping me from being the mother I want to be. I know I'm not alone, but I still feel so isolated with it.

I hate diabetes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Check out who walks up around 55:50. Who's that? Oh, It's me. That's right.

Upgrade - The Blood Upgrade (07.22.12) from GSUMC on Vimeo.

Before church this past Sunday, I noticed a table at the front of the church set up for communion. I mentioned to my friend that, after being spoiled with communion at our seats with nifty single serve cups, I lazily didn't want to walk ALL the way to the front for communion. She agreed. Next thing I knew, the pastor walked up to us and asked if we would be communion servers that day. How do you say no to a last minute, obviously desperate question like that? You tell him hesitantly ok, but you've never done it before. After he quickly told us what to do and what to say and when to go up, we moved to the front row (The front row? Seriously? You've got to be kidding me.).

I'll tell you what. Sitting on the front row makes me super nervous. I know that they are watching the front row people. It means no mind wandering. No inattentiveness. No fidgeting. All of these rules plus my mind was shooting all over the place with nerves during the entire sermon. What if I messed up? What if I didn't remember exactly what I was supposed to say? Would these people think I was a poser? That I didn't belong? Who am I kidding? Should I even be serving communion anyways?

In the video at the top, you can see where we went up. You can see where I was too nervous with stage fright to even turn around during the "instructions". I was glad to be sent with my friend to the side section quickly.

But I remembered. I remembered what to say. The people didn't act like I didn't belong up there doing it. I did wonder a time or two if I was supposed to say "This is the body of Christ broken for you" (See? I still remember!) to every single person. I figured I was, so I did. Every person deserves to know that Jesus died for you, both the singular and collective yous.  I felt deep in my being that each person needed to hear that it was broken for THEM, so I tried to tell them so they knew it. Each person matters.

I would do it again in a heartbeat. If a newcomer to the Church sees someone like me serving communion, then perhaps that will help them know that they belong there as much as the seminary scholar, something that I've wondered a time or two myself. I was super nervous going into that church service, a little relieved going out, but I will volunteer without hesitation to do it again if asked. It matters more than filling a position.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

One Miracle from Aurora

Proof that miracles exist. Article from here.

Shooting Victim Petra Anderson

At Columbine, I have seen this before. But not up close.  As a church pastor in Denver, I have worked as a chaplain with several police and fire departments. I was privileged to counsel parents just hours after the Littleton Columbine shootings. However, in this new tragedy at the Aurora Theater Dark Night shooting, one of the victims was a 22 year old woman from my church, Petra Anderson (pronounced Pay-tra). Petra went to the movies with two young friends who are biking across America.  You and I have been inundated with news about what happened next. A joyful movie turned into bloody, unbelievable chaos. Petra was hit four times with a shot-gun blast, three shots into her arm and one bullet which entered her brain. This a bit of Petra’s miracle story.
With awesome people from our caring and pastoral team, I spent all day Friday in the ICU with Petra and her family. Her injuries were severe, and her condition was critical. A bullet had entered Petra’s face through her nose, and then traveled up through her brain until stopping at the back of her skull. The doctors prior to surgery were concerned, because so much of the brain had been traversed by the bullet. Many areas of brain function were involved. They were hoping to keep her alive long enough to get her into surgery. The prognosis was uncertain—if she lived, Petra might struggle with speech, movement, and thinking due to considerable brain damage. With Kim, Petra’s mother (who is in the final stages of terminal cancer), we simply cried, hugged, and prayed.
It is pressed into my memory now. Motion and emotion…
Other families come and go into the ICU waiting room. Some sit with us, and we talk. Others are visited by doctors with “Family Advocates” in tow. The families listen, sob, and then are moved like stunned cattle to a more private space to grieve. We pray. Petra is finally taken into surgery, using two different surgical teams. One team of neurosurgeons will open up the back of her skull to remove the bullet and clean up brain damage as best they can. Another ENT-specialty surgical team will then work through Petra’s nose by scope to follow the bullet’s path up into her brain.  Their hope is to remove bone fragments, clean up damaged brain tissue, and reseal her brain to reduce infection.
If you have lived any of your days in a hospital waiting room, you know how long the enduring process is. It has a woeful pattern to it. Sit. Walk. Grab a drink. Sit. Walk. Answer a phone call. Sit. Walk. Hug someone. Sit. Talk to the FBI. Sit. Pick at the food. Sit. Walk. Go down the hall, but not too far because you’re afraid to miss something. Back. Hug. Pray. Sit. Sit. A picture of a five year old waiting for next Christmas from January 1st comes to my mind. FOREVER. Only this feels worse: a heavy forever, with no promise of presents, Santa, or good news at the

Petra Anderson and her world class violin.

After the waiting drags for over five hours, tired doctors and nurses spill back into the room, one or two at a time. I look for “Family Advocates” but can find none. I exhale. The doctors update us: “It went well, and she’s recovering now. We found very little damage to the brain, and got the bullet out cleanly. It went better than we hoped for.” Each brings a warrior’s smile, and a bit of information—information that we turn into hope as we regurgitate it over the next hours.  Still, the medical team remains professional and reserved, “Something might still go wrong. We just need to wait and see if she makes it for the next 48 hours.”
Tears and thank you’s abound. We are so thankful for these men and women. We hug. Everyone hugs. Then, round two. Sit. Wait. Pray. Fully dressed people cuddle into small snails and try to sleep on the floor. Some are shuttled to a room donated by the Holiday Inn across the street. Thank you, Lord, for every little thing. We sit. We pray. “We’ll understand better tomorrow.”
Petra is moved back to ICU. She looks, surprisingly, wonderful. With a small hole in her nose, and her arm wrapped, she almost looks uninjured. She is medicated and sleeping when I come to visit her on Saturday. I sit, talk, and pray quietly with Kim amid the darkened room, lit by glowing medical screens and power switches. Nurses, like quiet soldiers posted on guard, come in, march attentively through the machines, and go out.  These men and women really care. Finally, one of the surgeons comes in to check on Petra. He has had some sleep, and looks more like a movie star this time. As Petra sleeps, he retells the story of the surgery, and we ask questions.  The doctor reads the perfect script, as if he is on Hallmark Hall of Fame. He fills us in on the miracle. Honestly, he doesn’t call it that, he just uses words like “happily” and “wonderfully” and “in a very fortunate way” and “luckily” and “we were really surprised by that.”  Kim and I know a miracle when we see it.
It seems as if the bullet traveled through Petra’s brain without hitting any significant brain areas. The doctor explains that Petra’s brain has had from birth a small “defect” in it. It is a tiny channel of fluid running through her skull, like a tiny vein through marble, or a small hole in an oak board, winding from front to rear.  Only a CAT scan would catch it, and Petra would have never noticed it.
But in Petra’s case, the shotgun buck shot, maybe even the size used for deer hunting, enters her brain from the exact point of this defect. Like a marble through a small tube, the defect channels the bullet from Petra’s nose through her brain. It turns slightly several times, and comes to rest at the rear of her brain. And in the process, the bullet misses all the vital areas of the brain. In many ways, it almost misses the brain itself.  Like a giant BB though a straw created in Petra’s brain before she was born, it follows the route of the defect. It is channeled in the least harmful way. A millimeter in any direction and the channel is missed.  The brain is destroyed. Evil wins a round.

As he shares, the doctor seems taken aback. It is an odd thing to have a surgeon show a bit of wonder. Professionally, these guys own the universe, it seems, and take everything in stride. He is obviously gifted as a surgeon, and is kind in his manner. “It couldn’t have gone better. If it were my daughter,” he says quietly, glancing around to see if any of his colleagues might be watching him, “I’d be ecstatic. I’d be dancing a jig.” He smiles. I can’t keep my smile back, or the tears of joy. In Christianity we call it prevenient grace: God working ahead of time for a particular event in the future. It’s just like the God I follow to plan the route of a bullet through a brain long before Batman ever rises. Twenty-two years before.
While we’re talking, Petra awakes. She opens her eyes, and sits up, “Mom.” Movie-star doctor spins to grab her, to protect her from falling. The nurse assures him she’s been doing this for a while. He talks to her, and she talks back. He asks questions, and Petra has the right answers. “Where do you hurt, Petra?” “All over.” Amazed, but professional, he smiles and leaves the set shaking his head. I am so thankful for this man.
Petra is groggy and beat up, but she is herself. Honestly, I look worse before my morning coffee. “I’m thirsty,” she proclaims.
“You want an ice cube, honey?” Kim replies.
“Please.”  Wow. She lays down, back to sleep, a living miracle who doesn’t even know it yet. Good flowering out of the refuse pile of a truly dark night. “Thank you, Jesus,” I whisper.

Kim and her daughter.
Petra, you are amazing. Kim, you, too, are amazing. I am so proud of you both. But God, you are in a league of your own. (Duh.)
There is much ahead. More surgerys. Facial reconstruction, perhaps. And for Kim, chemo therapy to stretch every moment out of life. But life remains.The ending is yet to be written for this family.
One final note: I am told Petra will take her first steps today. Time for the miracle to go for a walk.
Kim and Petra need our help. For more on the Andersons, or to help with their medical costs, please visit here. This is a great site.

More information about supporting Petra Anderson and other shooting victims is also available at Hope Rises:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Blogger 411! link up with From Mrs to Mama

1. How long have you been blogging? And what got you started on blogging? Has your blog changed?

May 12, 2009. I was looking for wedding on a budget tips and ideas and kept finding blogs and figured I could do that too! Now, three years later, I've written more regularly (until recently) about my life, my married life and my life as a mother.

2. Did you go to college? If so where, and what did you study?

I did. I went to the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL. I changed my major WAY too many times. Special education -> Early Childhood Education -> Education -> English -> Fine Arts

3. Where have you traveled?

Several place in the south part of the US and a handful in the northern part with no desire to go back to anywhere up north with the exception of NY. I've also been to Germany and France and the Bahamas.

4. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?


5. What are your 3 biggest pet peeves?

People who don't listen, Drivers who drive slow in the fast lane and Repeating myself

6. What is your favorite movie?

I don't know anymore. I really like Beauty and the Beast, Breakfast at Tiffanys and League of Their Own

7. What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea?

Alcoholic: Champagne/bubbly wine, Non-alcoholic: Iced caramel coffee

8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?

When I have what?

9. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, which store would it be?


10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past? Or present.

My life is full of embarrassing times, but I choose not to let them stick with me too much, to the point that I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

11. What day would you love to relive again?

May 30, 2008

12. If your life was turned into a movie... what actor would play you?
Helen Mirran. My life story will end when I am much, much older.

13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?

A camp counselor, A coldstone creamery manager, Website designer

14. Show us a picture from high school or college.

15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?

Europe. I’d like to go to Paris again and I’d like to see England. Perhaps some of the other countries there, but England and France are my two biggies.

16. Show us the most current picture of you or you, or your family, or anything of meaning to you.

4th of July with my girl

17. Where do you see your life 5 years from now?

The snapshot in my head is of me, T and our two beautiful children. :)