The Arts and Why You Should Care

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It’s so easy to live inside our personal bubble and view things through a lens that is skewed…without realizing how things impact us that we are certain do not.  To not see our place in something bigger than who we are.  To be so inward focused, we don’t blink when we see information that should alarm us, simply because we are convinced that impacts someone else…not ourself.  Today, I want to help you see a glimpse into how organizations such as, The National Endowment for the Arts is a big part of your life….even if you never considered that they were.

In your community, have you attended a school musical or play, seen an orchestra play, attended your local community theater, had a child in an art class in school, a music class, been able to take in a local museum on the weekend, seen a Van Gogh up close and personal, watched a child who could not respond verbally respond to music, had an experience with a child who found a way out of the worst of neighborhoods because of exposure to art programs for high risk youth….any of those?  You have benefited from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Have you maybe watched an episode of “Great Performances” on PBS?  Thank the NEA.  NEA isn’t just about classical arts…it’s about community based programs that benefit those in your community-your friends and neighbors.  NEA provides grants to community programs, that allow them to stay afloat…to bring you the things that help to make your community who she is.  It’s about your child’s art teacher, music teacher who has applied for NEA based grants…grants that benefited your child and their education.  It’s about that family you know who has a child pursuing higher education in the arts.  Music, dance, theater, painting, sculpture…those things that bring joy to the hearts of those participating and their audience.  It’s the passion you saw on the face of a student as they performed their Senior Recital/Performance in college-the arts….it’s that incredible program you went to where an orchestra played the musical score to your favorite movie.  The time you maybe helped a child earn funds for a trip to perform at the legendary Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, or dance across the stage as a Joffrey Ballet student during a summer workshop.  It’s that movie you watched and left changed….a movie that used grant funding from the NEA to help with its budget.

It may seem that your arts locally, are funded with all local dollars and donations from patrons-but there is a partnership as well with the NEA.  Grants from the NEA create opportunities for communities and teachers that aren’t available anywhere else.  Without the arts, we become robots…full of information, but no passion for things outside of who we are….we lose the very things we love.

Here are some NEA facts:

  • In 2016, the NEA awarded $5.8 million through 194 grants to support lifelong learning, including support to pre-K through 12th grade arts education projects.
  • In the NEA’s The Arts and Achievment in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies, young adults who had intensive arts experiences demonstrated higher levels of volunteering and civic engagement than young adults who did not.
  • Arts education develops creativity, an important attribute and one of the top five skills employers prize in the 21st century.
  • Between 2006 and 2016, the NEA awarded more than $4.9 million in professional development grants, including the National Dance Education Organization to support workshops and online training to implement National Core Arts Standards in dance for teachers around the United States, and a grant to Virginia Commonwealth University to support Currentlab Game Design Institute for art teachers.
  • The NEA supports the State Agency Directors of Arts Education that works to develop a nationwide infrastructure of arts education peers in state departments of education.
  • NEA funding through arts education programs 1966-2016: $238.6 million
  • In 2013, 130 of 171 arts education grantees or 76 percent reported that their project benefitted an underserved population.

(Above from http://www.art.gov Fact Sheet)

I’ve pulled some grant recipients in communities that I know I have some followers from, so that you can see that, yes, this agency impacts you in a substantial and real way.  (This is just the grants for this semester.) Click the link and then scroll to your state to see the grants for the 2017 Spring semester.  Every single one of us has been to, been part of, or knows someone that the NEA has touched….we just may not have realized it, until today.

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Do you read?  Then you could have read works of literature by someone who used NEA grants, workshops to get their craft to the public…to allow them to take a semester off to write, research…publish.

Do you know a person majoring in music therapy?  NEA funds countless grants and research for music therapy and its impact to the health community, patients, and even those with autism that have shown incredible response to music being added to their therapy.  Researchers are even seeing a connection between music and the success of cancer patients in their healing/treatment process.  https://www.arts.gov/video/task-force-arts-and-human-development-music-therapy-music-listening-and-cancer-experience

  • The American public, by an overwhelming margin, believes the arts are vital to a well-rounded education.(nasaa-arts.org)
  • NCLB act ensures “arts” as a core subject (That’s music, art, band, ceramics, orchestra, theater, drama….things you are part of in your community)
  • Students who participate in arts learning experiences often improve their achievement in other realms of learning and life. In a well-documented national study using a federal database of over 25,000 middle and high school students, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles found students with high arts involvement performed better on standardized achievement tests than students with low arts involvement. Moreover, the high arts-involved students also watched fewer hours of TV, participated in more community service and reported less boredom in school. Catterall, James S. (2002), “Involvement in the Arts and Success in Secondary School.” In R. Deasy (Ed.), Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Achievement and Social Development, Washington, DC: AEP

     

    We know the arts work.  We know that the arts impact our society in a positive way.  Below is how the budget of the arts and humanities fit into the overall budget.

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I don’t see waste in the arts.  I see an investment into who we are as a society.  Who are children are.  I see an investment into entertainment, museums, theater, halls across America playing the greats from Bach, Beethoven, Gershwin, Copeland…it’s an investment into those children who find their heart on that first note, first dance step, first finished canvas…those children who choose a life of frugality as adults to bring you, the audience, an arts experience.  Those children, who science has proven, perform higher on math and reading comprehension exams.  Areas of the brain engaged most of us never use.

Enjoy movies?  Enjoy certain favorite actors/actresses?  Many of those are classical trained or have worked where NEA played a vital part to funding.  Some names that might be some that you enjoy:  John Lithgow, Katharine Hepburn, Lynn Redgrave, Angela Bassett, Richard Harris, Bette Davis, Viola Davis, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Williams…and on and on.

So many of our great film scores contain parts from famous classical works…and can you imagine seeing Star Wars or Harry Potter without the music?

Love music on your favorite stations?  Here are some classical trained musicians that you may enjoy: Andrew Bird, Zedd, Tupac, Jason Grant, Barry Manilow, Josh Groban..and on and on..

The Arts are the voice of so many….to say the NEA is a waste of dollars, is the same as saying the children and adults we know in these fields….are a waste as well.

Let’s not make the Arts and Humanities another political weapon.  Every party has always agreed on the Arts and Humanities and its place in our society.  Let’s not forget its part of who we are.  It’s part of who your community is.

Someone said to me today that cutting this would not change if your child could take music lessons….yes…oh yes it could…and will.  Those seeking higher education in the arts depend on grants to help fund their studies, their training…especially at the professional level.  A semester abroad to study the music/dance/art of different cultures, or work with some of the worlds greats….not having access to that will indeed impact access to quality arts training.

For my family, this is personal.  This is my sons chosen path in life….the arts.  Cutting funding for the arts is someone saying that his career path isn’t vital in our America.  That it doesn’t have a place in who we are as a nation.  Oh the sorrow our hearts will feel as we learn what it is like to live in a nation where the arts aren’t valued.

Today, I ask you to visit your local museum, a play, a performance of your local orchestra, your local school band…..to sit and watch those students who lose themselves in the creation of art..in all of its forms…..and then tell me it isn’t vital to America to support the arts.  Turn on your radio, listen to music…some of which has been created by citizens who studied for years to create a craft you would want to hear.  College professors in the arts typically have their PhD.  That’s the amount of training it takes to be at a level where you can teach your craft.  A waste….no….an investment, yes.

 

 

 

Out of the Echo Chamber

Ok.  So I laid out my heart, mind, soul the other day regarding ACA and treatment of others.

Today, I want to see if the conversation can be flipped.  I don’t know who will respond to this and I hope it doesn’t turn into a huge argument, but maybe if we all had this conversation…maybe we could find the middle ground we all hope for when it comes to universal healthcare in America.  Maybe someone in DC will read this little blog and work to create or repair something that works for all of us in a way that it is beneficial…and puts America on equal footing with other developed nations, even the nation of Israel that our nation holds in such high regards.

So, here is the question.  If I see something that I have information to show is false, I will comment with that information.  Not an opinion…factual commentary.

If you 100% want to see ACA repealed.  Why?  And if it’s honestly because it’s called Obamacare or created during the Obama Presidency, own it.  Admit it.

If you answer as to “it’s not affordable,” then tell the world what affordable is for you.  What would you consider to be a fair price and deductible and copay for coverage (not just a catastrophic plan) for your family?

If you answer “it contains death panels,” you need to put it in the actual statute/rule from the plan indicating as such….please note…I’m have a very factual rebuttal to that statement…it will be used.

If you have a pre-existing condition and are against ACA, why?  

And, if you thought Obamacare was not the same thing as ACA/Marketplace….own that too.  We need to stop politicizing the health of our nation with partisanship.

Lastly, if you hate ACA because of the fines….what’s your two cents on being required to carry car insurance, by law, where part of your rate is based upon the accident/claim rates of your geographical area?   If you were to get sick, or develop a condition…how would you have covered the possible six figure bill?

So….this is your time to explain to me why you want it repealed…and what a fair replacement or repair looks like to you.

We are at historic levels for the number of uninsured Americans….and the ACA does save lives.  Let’s all agree on the good that it does….because it does.

 

 

 

A Life Lived Differently

“May I take your order?”  “Hello?”  The car proceeds to the window, not having yet placed an order.  “Two number fours?”  “No, you couldn’t hear me.”  “I’m sorry, you will have to come in to place your order.”  “Actually, no, I don’t have to.  See, my right to use the drive through is protected under the ADA.”  Manager comes over.  “I’m sorry, how can I help you?”

“What’s wrong with you?”  “Wow, you really have a funny sounding voice.”  “You should not be out in public since you are likely contagious.”  “Have you tried hot tea?”  “Do you have TB?”  “Great, thanks for coming and getting everyone else sick with your cough.”

“Wow, so you are the reason healthcare is so costly?”  (This is a real remark.)

Insert imitation/mocking of what I just said by someone making fun of my voice, or lack thereof.

The stares.  The stares as I cough, sneeze or work to dislodge a mucous plug…all from a hole in my neck made over 22 years ago to keep me breathing…alive.

The avoidance of social gatherings…not because I want to be a huge introvert, but because it’s physically and mentally exhausting.  Talking is like working out…talk too much and a large oxygen-deprivation headache comes to visit.  Talk too little and people comment behind your back that you are rude.  Dinner out…conversation with those I am with is often impossible.

Welcome to my reality.  My every single day of life.  Above is just the tiniest of glimpse into what could be a fairly lengthy book of remarks, comments, experiences.  I work so incredibly hard to disguise it all as much as I can….to try to not be different in a country that seems to have to work so hard to accept anyone that is different.

I write this, not for your pity, it’s neither wanted or warranted.  I write this today as almost a real, honest, truthful glance into my life and my brain and where I am.

I recently posted on FB my two cents, worth less than that, opinion on Meryl Streep, DT, and mocking those that are disabled and the bullying of those who are different…and those who maybe don’t agree with our next PEOTUS.  I try, for the most part, to keep my very opinionated views off FB and put them on other social media sources.  I’ll like an article, share an article, etc…but if I put up a status on FB…you have to know it’s because it means that much to me.  It’s that important.  I was caught off guard by how quickly it went partisan.  How can standing up against bullying and mocking the disabled/sick be anything but supported by all of us?  How can someone being bold and taking a stance in a very public forum be anything but applauded for the community being spoke of.  My head and my  heart have just ached.  So, today, I felt led to share my side…my take….maybe if those that know me know what life is like….know why I have chosen the stances on issues that I have…maybe it will bring a different conversation to the table.  One not tied to being right, or politics or even an interpretation of the Bible.

As a child, long before insurance reforms, I rarely had insurance coverage for my RRP and the care it involved.  I was diagnosed at age five, and since that time I have had well over 250 surgeries.  All to keep me alive.  None of them “optional.”  I was always labeled as a “pre-existing” condition.  I think I was around the age of fifteen when I realized what all caregivers, my parents, family, etc… had to do in order to get me in the OR.  The charity organizations that had to be contacted on my behalf.  All because I was not able to be insured.  There were times that was because of job issues in the home, but most often it was due to that “pre-existing” clause.  I’ll never know for sure how it was done, but I had surgeries covered for years by the Shriners Hospital program…turned 18 and they still helped.  I cannot begin to imagine the financial burden my family faced because of my health. (I know over a marriage what our tally is.)  Just gas/food to and from hospitals/clinics, co-pays, deductibles.  It is a rare disease, so only certain facilities are truly able to care for it then…and even now.  I wonder now if my parents were faced with the conversation of “X dollars” upfront before we can treat your daughter.  I know so many that get that conversation now….

Then I married.  Twelve months with no prior treatment of the condition in order for it to be covered…..twelve months.  Then seeing a lifetime max benefit of 1 million dollars.  Do you happen to know what it is like to literally be forced to choose between breathing and having a surgery covered by insurance?  I do. Lee changed jobs a couple of times during pre-ACA days….the twelve month window back open….sometimes able to get COBRA to be covered for that waiting period.  I know what it is like to have to decide between surgery that I have to have to breath and the onslaught of medical bills uncovered by insurance….or to risk not having surgery to prevent financial calamity.  I didn’t ask for this disease. I didn’t do anything to get this disease.  It simply is….and I lived in a nation where healthcare wasn’t guaranteed for anyone, much less those who had conditions requiring repeated, lifetime care.  Then….we gained ACA.  Obamacare, as many like to call it.

For my community, this was a lifeline.  To know we could no longer be denied coverage or forced to choose between surgery or waiting period…to know the lifetime cap was no longer a concern. To  know children, precious children, would have access to medical coverage.  Those who made too much for Medicaid…safe from exclusion.   This has saved lives in my community.  It has saved people from losing their homes.  It has allowed a community to no longer feel punished for something they cannot control.  I know it has issues….any program this large will have issues.  Yet, when I read comments by people that know me on this program and how they can’t wait for it to be repealed….that’s me you are hurting.  That’s exactly how I read your remarks.  That the person you claim to care about is not worth the protection afforded to her in the ACA.  Then, to see the comments by folks saying they want to keep ACA but repeal Obamacare….really?  It’s the same program….I realize it’s more about who enacted it than what the program is for some folks.  So, then I read those comments as the hatred towards  a political figure matters more than that lives impacted by ACA.  How can I not take that personally?  How can I not wonder if we don’t have two versions of the Gospel floating around?  How can anyone who has maybe a family member who has lived through a cancer diagnosis….how can they speak out so forcefully against coverage for our nation?  A promise other nations guarantee their citizens.  Christ commanded us to care for the sick…..commanded.  It wasn’t an optional thing He spoke of.  I’m going to answer for how I cared for the sick…and I have to side with the protections of ACA.  It’s what we have now…and there is no plan on how to make it better.  Just complaints using political partisanship….how can I not take that personally? How can we constantly say “stand with Israel” who has Universal, legally required health care…and not demand the same for our citizens?

So, there’s my stance on ACA.

Now…back to my FB post and the start of this blog post.

I’ve been mocked.  A lot.  I’m not strong for moving past it.  I’m not this huge pillar of faith when faced with the adversity that comes my way.  I’m human.  When I see a man that will lead our nation in just a few days, openly, flagrantly mock a man with a medical condition (A Pulitzer winning journalist.)….I take that personally.  It’s as if he was mocking anyone in our nation that is less than ideal…less than perfect….that’s what the weak, the bully does.  They mock.  They belittle.  They work so hard to make sure those that are the slightest bit different know that the bully feels superior.  I saw that incident as it happened.  (Before my blackout of cable news.)  No matter the success of that journalist, I can assure you on that day…he felt demoralized…belittled….and furious that people laughed with Donald Trump…cheered him on.  That’s the hard part to understand…that those in attendance didn’t become so appalled…so shocked that they left…no…they stayed..they cheered.  They agreed with every single mocking action.  We expect better behavior from our children than we do the next President.  How can that be ok?  How can those who know me defend that?  He mocked me that day.  Every day he hasn’t apologized to that journalist is another day  in America that the disabled..the sick…are less than.  By standing with him on this…you are saying the same…that’s honestly how I take it.  You have said…my political beliefs..my party having power is of greater worth to me than someone I call my friend.  It’s of greater worth to me than standing firmly against the bully’s of the world who choose those actions against my fellow neighbor…the person created in God’s image.  That people that so ferociously defend the lives of the unborn…well…they look the other way when it comes to defending the lives of the living….all because of political power.

I went to the Holocaust Museum in DC recently.  The entire experience brought tears and heartache….but one part….shook me at my core.  As the atrocity began all those years ago, one of the first group targeted was the sick….those with conditions, whether medical or mental.  They were culled and exterminated first.  By gunshot, drownings, whatever means necessary…they were a drain on society and not part of the “Ideal Race.”  I stood there….tears coming down my cheeks…realizing not only that this took place, but that people knew and said nothing…did nothing.  Power…a drug.  A drug that Satan uses, especially against Christians, as the justification tool for a means to an end.  Hitler professed to be a Christian….a perfect race….control…power….those less than the view of ideal exterminated.  I would have been first.  The man Donald mocked would have been first…a Pulitzer winning journalist…

So, well….I suspect this was more than what you bargained for when you started reading this today….but it needed to be said…we need to all realize that our views…that they have real consequences to people we care about….that it’s not as black and white as we want things to be.

I’m not a Hollywood actress…or a prize winning journalist…I’m just me…one voice…but this one voice will stand tall against those who bully, belittle, mock…I’ll stand tall in support of healthcare for all….and I won’t apologize for it.  I take what Christ said seriously….care for the sick, the poor, the elderly, the widows….love one another…always….truth covered with so much love that when judged, I want Christ to tell me that I loved enough…that I stood in the gap for those who were invisible…with no voice…or made to feel less than adequate in a society that demands perfection.

Maybe I’ll Glow In The Dark

Two weeks from today, I will be in a full day of testing, scans, etc…..Round 1, NIH trial, day one.

It’s hard to think back to two years ago, when I first learned of the lung involvement, and see how slowly, yet quickly the wheels turned that led to this trial.  Consider this one huge update and information overload to those following my crazy lung/RRP saga.

I’m in.  Patient number nine of twelve.  (Remember that number, as one day, I shall be the famous “patient 9” in medical journals.)  I’ve done all of the background testing, medical record reviews, medical review boards…and my case is accepted.  I will be starting a trial using Avalumab (Javelin-Merck) in an effort to shrink or eradicate the pulmonary involvement, tracheal involvement and laryngeal involvement of the RRP.  Goal is cure….a lofty goal.  One no one in our community has yet seen come to fruition.  Remission, yes.  Cure, no.

It was, and still is, something I struggle with….I’m going to be taking infusions of a drug, not even yet on market, to attempt to prevent my pulmonary from killing me…and an attempt to reset my immune system to fight the virus that causes RRP…resulting in a cure.  A drug currently reserved in trials for Stage III and IV cancers.  A drug that could throw me into serious medical conditions such as diabetes one, Addison’s, liver issues, etc….a drug where the cure/treatment could end one disease and cause another.  Yet, here I am…ready to go.  Pulmonary RRP is seen as an outcome of RRP with a very poor prognosis.  I’m charting patients that we know of, and it’s about 50/50 on who survives.  I have multiple areas of concern in my lungs, as well as extensive tracheal involvement.  I am just about a worst case situation….but with no known conversion as this time, I still have options.  This is the option that I have chosen.

For those following, this is what I know of now:

I fly out in two weeks to the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.  Day one is testing and more scans.  Day two is apherersis (something I am not looking forward to).  Day three, I go to the OR for biopsies and mapping.  (again, not looking forward to this)  Day four, infusion day.  Day five, released if no side effects greater than Grade 2.  (Automatic trial removal if above Grade 2.)

Repeat above two weeks later.  One of three outcomes at this visit.  Eradication of disease, no change or greater than 50% change.  To remain in the trial, I need at least a 50% change at the second visit.  Eradication would be a miracle, so I would certainly take that…but no change…that’s what we don’t want.  If I remain in the trial, I’ll come back two weeks later for just an infusion, then back two weeks from there to repeat week one all over again.  The longest I will remain in the trial is 18 weeks.

So, expect Zombie Kim for a while.  I’ve already made the announcement that travel for the foreseeable future isn’t happening.  I expect huge stares from folks in economy on flights as this walking test tube grabs her seat.  I may or may not shower for those flights…depends on if I decide my fellow passengers are worth the effort/energy.  If I happen to sit by you, just spray some perfume…it will all be ok.

Now, I want to share this.  We all complain about taxes…a lot.  YOU…your taxes are part of the reason this trial exists.  So, thank you.  Thank you for helping to make this trial possible.  This is a government funded trial at a government facility.  Without YOUR tax dollars, this facility would cease to exist and so many trials that lead to cures for so many diseases would cease to be in progress.  RRP gets little federal funding for research..it’s an orphan disease, so it’s not exactly a high priority.  For us to have a federally funded trial such as this is nothing short of a miracle.  Mass General has a trial now too, but it’s pharma funded and backed by Mass General.  Super, but less dependent on federal tax dollars.  So, again, thank you.  On behalf of the entire RRP community…we thank you.

I’ll post as I can regarding each day of the trial….if I begin to glow in the dark, I’ll take pictures!  If I turn into the Hulk, well….I have a few folks I need to visit, then I’ll take pictures.

So, peace out.  Support the sciences.  Support research.  One day, it could be you that needs the treatment or cure that came from scientific research in our medical community.

And so it goes…

This will be short…and I don’t mean to whine and complain….but I use this blog in many ways as a journal.  So, bear with me tonight.

I’ve had an actual voice for three weeks now.  (Actual voice for me…wouldn’t be considered that for most.)

Today, it’s started to fade rather quickly.

I won’t lie…..there’s a part of me that is heartbroken.  I had so prayed for it to last long enough so that I would have it for Christmas….

Being honest….there’s a huge part of me that’s heartbroken.

While I am so thankful that I am here…I am breathing….when you get something back that you had lost long ago…it’s even harder to let it go.

 

Nearing the Holidays

Next week is Thanksgiving.  Yes, you read that correctly.  As I have done in years past, the preparation of the home for all that is “Holiday” has started.  The tree is almost finished and then it’s onward to the other things that will be brought out this year.  Those that know me even a tad, know that I see magic all around me during the Holidays.  I still see it through the lens of a child….full of wonder and awe of every light, decoration, greeting of “good cheer.”  I want the sounds of every Christmas carol to ring day and night, along with the best of the best in contemporary offerings.  Dress a tad nicer on Sunday, in celebration of the entire Season…and the reason for it to even exist.

And yet…..in all of my wonder….the first ornament on the tree…for the past three years….has been met with sadness.  A bittersweet moment as I remember how excited she was to give her kiddos a selection of ornaments she worked so hard on during her cancer battle.  Then I remember her joy, her awe of Christmas and how she just couldn’t have enough ornaments on her tree.  I’ve never seen anyone who could  make a tree as beautiful as hers.  Growing up, we had blue trees, pink trees, white trees…green trees….and often with color coordinated decorations.  We may have not had but one or two gifts to open, but we always had the most beautiful tree.  As she got older, an artificial tree took over, but every branch was met with an ornament.  1000 lights?  Why not double?  2000 has to be better…each branch so carefully wrapped.  Days, countless hours…countless sharp looks to the man pacing across the room wondering why each ornament had such a specific spot.  Soon, after several ornaments are in place, my sadness is replaced with almost a giddy excitement to see how close I can get to her tree…every branch covered and decorated.

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In so many ways, my Christmas tree is a yearly reminder of the best parts of her.  Whether it’s me standing back wondering if there is room for just one more ornament, or is there a way to get more lights wrapped into the branches….what if that ornament could speak and tell me exactly what she was thinking the day she created it….these are my grown up Christmas moments.

Then, I step back and see the Hallmark ornaments we started for the kiddos the day they were born.  One for each year.  Our oldest was given hers when she married, but our son still has his proudly displayed, and each year we continue to add to both of their collections. Each one was carefully picked out by them…on sometimes short, sometimes long visits to Hallmark.  Each ornament a reflection of their personality or obsessions at that particular moment.

Today, as I finish the tree….I step back and see a life of memories….her memories, my memories, memories of my kiddos…and I see a tree full of such awe and wonder.  I see her.  I see my grandparents who are represented by memory ornaments.  I see my world through the eyes of a child….believing that Christmas magic is real…Santa does exist and snow holds magical powers on Christmas Day.

So, in my awe and wonder….and believing that Christmas magic does exist…make this one count.  Set aside the pain of days past…embracing the idea that everyone has a little bit more love to give during the Season and that Christmas magic really can heal the most broken of hearts.

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Jesus, Labels, and Evaluation

Anyone else feel as if they  have been put into a washing machine on high spin for eighteen months and suddenly the machine has been turned off?

I’ve started this blog entry literally more times than I can count.  I’ve gone to this place in prior blogs, but I seem to be further along now….and still facing just as many questions.  Folks, this election has made me weary.  Just flat out exhausted.  So many emotions, over so many months….taking this broken girl and her heart and her beliefs on a very unplanned journey-well, not unplanned…a journey I was already on, but this election accelerated it.

For the record, we can mark in stone that I love Jesus. I believe He died and rose again on the third day. I believe in the sovereignty of God.  I believe that His Word is the period at every statement. I believe in the red letters of Christ just as much as I believe the sun sets in the west.  Yet, with all that disclosed, I am changed now….I’m different than just eighteen months ago.  I believe, I am changed for the better, or at least in the process of that direction.  Some, may wonder if I have fallen to the wayside, some may take my journey as an attack on where they are…and I certainly don’t mean for it to ever come off that way…it’s an attack on where I am…where I was for sure.

I’ve identified with the Evangelical label for as long as I can remember.  Maybe I didn’t know what that was back as a young follower of Christ, but I said I was a Southern Baptist, and Evangelical like a badge of honor on my chest.  Almost a “I believe what’s right, you believe what’s wrong” approach.  Then, somewhere along the way, I began to not feel as if I “fit”….questioned my salvation…God assuring me it was secure….so why did it feel so lost in what should feel like home?  I knew I didn’t agree with what was being touted as “feel good theology” so I knew not to go there.  I knew I didn’t agree with the new “prosperity theology”, so I knew it was equally as wrong for me.  I knew I believed fully in the red letters of Christ.  So, I began my journey there….seeking to figure out what that meant for me in a world I had become so comfortable in…my little SBC bubble of life.  That was probably six years ago….maybe seven.  No one knew….not  my spouse or my children. There was a period that I was literally broken in half…and at a crossroads.  Few knew….and few know to this day.

I went to church.  I served.  All the while, questioning why I felt so lost in what should feel like home.  Why I would leave on Sundays angry…I don’t mind leaving convicted, but I shouldn’t leave angry.  Isn’t the point to attend and leave challenged to be working to be more like Christ…to be a witness to a world seeking hope? (Please do not take my comments as not loving my church-I did, I still do.  Some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my entire life. A man in the pulpit that loves Jesus with every cell in his body.  But this blog, it’s about my heart…my journey and the questions it has raised towards myself…towards an entire label.)

Then, we moved.  I was forced to leave my bubble of life….my comfort zone…even when I felt so uncomfortable sometimes, it was familiar…it was safe…it was mine.  I moved to an area where I couldn’t just look up a FBC in the phone book, go sit down and continue.  I moved to an area where my normal didn’t exist.  I moved where Jesus was loved, but church was far different…the pulpit was different…the mission was different and yet the same….everything was different and yet, with Jesus still center…the same.

During this period of adjustment, we landed in three churches before our current landing.  Meeting some amazing people, some of which I call “friend” today.  And like only our God can do, He tossed an election into my lap and said..ok, Kim, what about all of this?  Here I was, already deep into a journey of uncertainty of where I fit….and then He forced me to take in one of the ugliest elections in my lifetime.  One that broke every norm.  During the election, right when it was really starting to become nothing short of horrific to watch, is when we landed at our current church.  It was by chance we landed there at all, but then again, God isn’t into “by chance.”

Christine Caine was coming to speak at a local mega-church.  I am a huge Caine fan.  I had to go.  We “cheated” on our church at the time and went.  And it happened.  My heart, felt at home.  Still not sure what it all meant, but I knew with every ounce of Jesus in me…this was it.  This was what my heart was seeking….missing.  My heart needed Jesus presented with Biblical truth, but with a love everyone, love always heartbeat.  That attitude that before someone can really hear about Jesus, you have to meet them where they are..not where you want them to be.  That inclusion that still holds true to Biblical truth, but with a love that oozes from the pores of those giving out the love. Most of all, my heart wanted a pulpit based on Jesus, but far removed from politics.  My heart was weary…it was tired…and it was growing bitter.  No denomination on the door….just the Gospel of Jesus and the doctrine according to Christ.

Now, let me go back to before…and during all of this…the election came.  What I haven’t brought back up today really is how during all of this…even now…I was/am struggling to my very core about the word Evangelical.  The election just highlighted that struggle in my life.  Things were said and done that were so far removed from what I believe Christ wants in us as people…towards our fellow man, my heart just reeled.  Triggers took place that brought up childhood incidents that I thought were long buried.  Then…in all of it…I saw Christian leaders I admired come to the defense…fall on the sword to defend…for what, to me, only seemed like  man desperate for the power that would come with a result.  So much was the polar opposite of what I had grown to believe over a lifetime as to what Christ expected of us as human beings…what he so called out for.  I grew increasingly confused, increasingly angry…increasingly counting down the days to Sunday morning or Wednesday night where I could be reminded….not all are falling on the sword….not all are telling me it’s my duty as a Christian to fall in line.  I saw people I care about deeply hurt by words so offensive that they had to be “bleeped” on national TV.  I saw entire groups of people called out in such hateful ways that I grew even more angry.  I’m one of the “Evangelicals” people are talking so poorly about…I’m a member of this group that is supporting such hateful words.  How can that be?  I don’t agree with any of these words.  I don’t agree with the agenda of Jesus as a political tool for power.  Maybe, I’m not an Evangelical.  Maybe, I’m not the label.

As I said earlier, I’ve blogged about this before, but today feels different.  Today feels certain.  Today, my heart is not burdened with the label.  Today, because of a church that fed my heart words of truth in hope and love….because of a horribly nasty election, because of a son in the arts, because I never felt my heart fit….I can say with a peace I don’t take the label anymore.  I don’t want it.  I want to love Jesus…and love others.  Please know, this is my journey and is certainly not directed towards anyone but myself.  With that said, I won’t lie.  I don’t get it.  I don’t get why more didn’t speak out in loud voices….why the seat on the Supreme Court was more important than speaking out against the words that hurt so many.  It sent such a mixed and hurtful message to a lost world watching our actions.  We have worked so hard to stand in Biblical truth….then when in front of a world audience…we stood silent.  At least it seemed that way by the words by leaders and people of influence.  I’ll never forget the day women such as Beth Moore spoke out so directly against sexual assault or the words that implied it.  I’ll also never forget when we came out in swarms to eat one of our own, Jen Hatmaker, when she spoke her views.  Those that counsel her spoke to her in private…why did so many of us take to social media to literally eat her alive….and discard all the good she had done for women, lost women…prior to a statement that use the word “Holy” when well..what I think of that is so complex, it’s a blog post on its own (I support and love those I know in that community and that’s all that needs to be said.)…but I’m not going to tar and feather a woman that has been such a light to so many women. No one forces us to buy books or attend conferences with any speaker….show our disagreement by no longer supporting the work…but attacking someone so ferociously on social media was heartbreaking to watch.  I’ll also never forget the words of Christine Caine on our role as Christians towards Syrian refugees.  I will also forever remember being reminded that God puts angels everywhere…and what if He has placed angels among those refugees…and the tears He must shed as we, as a nation. turn them away out of fear. What if God is sending us a nation to show the love of Christ to…and we shut the door from fear? A fear we are told not to hold in our heart. What good is our “pro-life” stance, if we turn away the least of these out of fear, how is one life more valuable than another?  Dr. Russell Moore, James McDonald (post advisory board), Bill Hybels, Steve Carter, so many female authors and speakers….literally I cannot, even now, get enough of their wisdom on Jesus…the Bible, on how to be more red letter….

I’m still angry, but less angry each day.  Those stages of grief seem to apply to almost every facet of change in our lives.  I have to think I’m more to the “sad” stage…..far less questioning of my personal “what label do I want, if any”….and more a question of trying to understand how I got here…and trying to understand where others are in their journey. Sad, because I don’t understand.  I want to….but right now, I don’t.  I sense less anger towards all of it today than even just 24 hours ago…certainly less than three months ago.

I’m processing Romans 15 these days….trying to grasp that when we were told to welcome, embrace…it wasn’t with conditions….it was certain.

I’m thinking of Matthew 5…when Christ gave his Sermon on the Mount.

I’m thinking of how incredibly heartbreaking it is that any life on this earth needs a hashtag to be heard or seen.

I wonder how many fellow “Evangelical” folks are out there that have been on this same journey I have been on….even before the ugliness of 2016.  I’ve seen more women than men based upon folks I follow.  Why is that?

Would I have gotten this far in this journey without the move…without the election?  It’s pointless to even try to say anything but, no.  What idols have I allowed to be covered with the weaponization of Jesus?  Who have I hurt by views formed from life in a bubble?  Non-Christians, fellow believers?  Are my words today possibly words another person can take as hurtful to maybe where they are in their journey?  Please know…this is my journey.  I’ve likely made far too much of it public over the past two years….but I want to be able to go back two years from now and say..ok…progress has been made.

God has blessed my beyond measure with girlfriends who know my heart and my struggles and love me anyways….just as I love them in return…even when we  may be on polar opposite spectrums on so many things.  My tribe has always loved me in spite of me.  Just as Jesus does…in spite of me…He still loves me.

I’m thankful for this season and the conviction and necessity to really work on what Kim stood for..who Kim is as a Christian.  Realizing one walk will never look like another walk.  Realizing it’s ok to question things….ok to step outside your bubble and jump in…to the coldest pool on earth…trusting there is a warm hand waiting.

My son, my gifted musician, has been more of a catalyst than he can ever know.  His circle, his footprint on the world, forced me more than almost anything else before the move to dig deep…question…consider the idea that maybe many of my beliefs/routines were more man made that Christ made.  I’m forever grateful for this influence.

In a way, I am now in the dryer after being in the washing machine for so long…and on high speed for that last several months….hopeful that maybe when I come out…a few less wrinkles in place and a clean heart ready for this new stage.

And for those reading thinking Kim has gone over the edge…nah…..can’t go over what you went over years ago!

 

 

 

 

Things We Say…2

As I continue to search my brain-bank for things that have been said for so long, that I may have just come to assume they were correct…Biblically, historically….I’m learning that when some of these are challenged outside the confines of my little nest….the pushback can be intense.  I get it.  It’s hard to accept something you took as truth for so long as not truth…or something that was incorrectly attributed to Christ or even a famous writer/theologian.  Yet, isn’t the whole purpose of this “walk” to check yourself at the door and verify truths….an ongoing process?  I hope so, if not…then Christianity is nothing more than being a seed in the ground never watered….that’s death.  The seed would never grow.

“You give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.” 

How many times have you heard this?  I hear it quoted a lot when people are having conversations as to the perils of social welfare in America. It’s not in the Bible….Jesus never said anything of this sort. It’s a Chinese Proverb.  While the premise is nobel, it’s not scriptural.

This too shall pass.  

Not in the Bible.  It’s origin is likely from a fable by Persian Sufi poets.  The scripture that likely most follows this common Christian saying is from 2 Corinthians 4:17-18:

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Biblically, we are given the hope of what’s not seen, that our earthly troubles are temporary.  (PS-this is a very difficult truth to handle in the middle of the storm-show grace.)

As I sit here and look at the words in black and white, I am once again reminded of how hurtful these “taken as truth”, “Non-Biblical” remarks must feel to those hearing them.  As a daughter who has lost her Mom, “this too shall pass” seems especially hurtful.  It has been almost three years and it hasn’t passed…just become part of my normal.

Christ multiplied the fish and the bread to feed the masses.  He didn’t shout out to the masses-go learn to fish and you will be fed.  No, He fed the masses.  He saw those in need and He met that need.  I understand the premise behind the proverb, but it’s just not in the Bible….

That’s it for today….just two more.  As you read this, I do ask one thing of you.  If your fingers are tapping the keyboard wanting to comment about the woes of social welfare in America, please don’t.  That’s a politically charged worm hole that I don’t want this to head down.

Truth’s that are true:  Jesus loves you.  Period.  All of you. Good, bad, everything.  He doesn’t love you because of how you vote, how popular you are, how many friends you have on Facebook….he loves you for the imperfect human that you are.

Peace out folks….and enjoy this “National Coffee Day.”

 

 

 

Really Big Needles

I am not a fan of needles.  I mean, really, who is?  If you are, I’m sorry, we just can’t be friends.

Most of you guys have been following the saga of my lungs and such for almost two years now…crazy…almost two years.  One would think that I would be further along in this little journey, but slow and steady is my mantra…plus, I’m a classic over-thinker, and I have way too much access to google-ya know, Dr. Google.  Anyways….I did it.  I pulled that trigger this week and admitted that two spots were likely better off identified than left hanging out to their own little march.  I had a lung biopsy.

Both lungs have several areas, but on the left are two decent size nodules that I think show out to put the right side to shame….should I tell them that I like the right side more because it’s not a show off?  Nah….they would probably act out like a two year old by going all ninja on me….we will just let them keep thinking they are the belle of the ball.  So, the left side was the focus this week.  Decision was made to go after the one that was easiest to reach.

I have to say that once the team and I made the decision, outside of panic moments that occurred when I went to Dr. Google….I was fairly calm about the whole process.  Thankfully, I have some folks who have walked this road already and they were so awesome to answer questions and give me “real world” experiences.  Whether the biopsy came back papilloma (Squamous Cell) or cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma), I pretty much already had my plan in place and knew what to expect either way.

So, off to Mayo I went.  As with any other trip to Mayo, it began the night before with dinner at Chester’s.  Seriously, it’s good eats.  Now….imagine my heartache when I realized my favorite menu item was no longer on the menu!  I may or may not have whined to the waitress more than once.  She encouraged me to order the Lobster Mac-N-Cheese and it did not disappoint.  Now..was it as wonderful as my Thanksgiving Dinner on a Plate I had come to love…why of course not.  You guys know I love Christmas…. Thanksgiving is close to Christmas; therefore, I love Thanksgiving food.  Who am I kidding…I love food…and dessert-365 days of the year.

The  morning came and off I went to check in for labs and such before I headed up to the procedure floor.  Blood draws…such a mundane task, but so thankful for such an easy way for information to be gathered.  (Hint…always ask for a butterfly…trust me…ask!!!) Then it was time to go up a few floors and check in for procedure.  I kept asking folks to volunteer as tribute…no one did.  Note to those reading…DO NOT check in early for procedures….you will be called early…just saying…..so called back.

First was the lovely ten million questions that I have come to assume is an attempt to catch you in a huge lie about your weight or height or drinking or smoking habits…then came my conversation about my veins and what typically can go wrong…what always goes wrong and before you could blink, the nurses went and grabbed an anesthesiologist.  (Smart girls!!)  During his search and destroy mission, we chatted and his brother did his undergrad and grad at my son’s grad school for Cello performance..small world.  I didn’t get a sense of great pride from this brother about his brother…but I suppose if you can’t knock out excerpts from classical pieces from the 1800’s..well…jealously.  I mean..doctor..sure..that’s awesome and all…but classical musician…that is so much better!

A little IV help for those who are a hard stick:

  1.  Have them wrap arm in a warm blanket.
  2. Ask for anesthesiologist or oncology nurse to start your IV
  3. Know where IV’s are the easiest to thread and ask them to use that area
  4. Do arm weights to build up muscle mass in your arms.  I was told all the medical reasons as to why this works, but again…drugs.  
  5. Drink plenty of water the day before/day of an IV stick
  6. Ask them to not dig for a thread
  7. Get the local.  If they won’t give you a local, see number 2.  Those two can.  

With the IV in, I was sent back out to wait my turn to change clothes and go to holding.  Can I just say that was a really short wait….it really wasn’t, but when you are still wondering just what can you do to make it where you can leave and go have dessert..it seems like a short wait!

Holding time came and before I knew it I was being rolled off to the procedure room.  I wasn’t fearful, mostly just desiring to be fully aware of each part of the process.  Surprises are not my thing-at all.  I’m an order gal.  I prefer my days to be post-it note organized-or at least appear that way.  I can go with the flow, but that flow has to be about a 1MPH flow….anything more than that and well….you best have some cake to go with that chaos.

Dr. Welch and his team explained in great detail what was going to take place.  As I was positioned for initial scans, I was given the first dose of medication meant to keep me relaxed so that the biopsy would go more smoothly—not sure if that is for the patient or the doctor performing the biopsy.  As they then positioned me and marked the biopsy area, it was clear the meds had done much of nothing.  Another dose…..another dose….fourth dose..bingo, we have a winner!  I would be a very expensive addict given my tolerance to such medications.  Initial bee stings as site was being numbed.  Another slight pressure of a bee sting as the wall was numbed.  A few pops of the biopsy gun, and it was done.  I’ve had more breast biopsies than I can count and I truly believe this was easier-discomfort wise, risk wise lung beats breast though-lung risks will honestly freak you out a tad if you let them.  I was then wheeled back to observation on my left side…..passed that faithful man of  mine and of course, I hold up the peace sign.  (I am obviously very chilled at this moment….peace sign?  Really Kim?  Invoking your 1960’s birth decade I guess.)

Let’s just say…if you have had a lung biopsy, you are a popular patient for that first two hours-that critical window where most complications will occur.  I did have a slight hematoma come up that required some beautiful marker drawings on my back and some periods of pressure as they worked to relieve it and make sure it wasn’t developing into something more.  I tried to rest. (Insert laughing of everyone who has spent any time in a hospital setting…the word rest….) Soon it was time for the initial X-Ray to check for pneumothorax and any bleeding that might be taking place.  Check..Done…still, so very chilled.  I think you could have told me North Korea had a nuke coming this way and I would have held up the peace sign again. (Suppose I shouldn’t joke about that given the events of yesterday.)  Keep in mind, not only was I floating on the meds given in the procedure room, I was also on a narcotic to control my constant cough for 48 hours…..I was basically…zoned out sitting on Mars. Anyhow….about 45 minutes later, the team walked in and asked if I was ready to be released to the hotel.  Wait?  What?  I can go????  I was told a six hour hold, so to be leaving so early….seriously folks…that’s God.  I had zero evidence of even the tiniest of complications.  Nothing!  (2 1/2 hour hold!)

So, after being educated on some very scary things that can still happen after release, I was on my way.  Given my little drug fest, I had to do that whole wheel chair thing.  Here I am, chilled to the core, and I get chatty Fred as my escort.  If you know me well, you know how annoyed I was the entire ride down.  Things were going well…..we stopped and Lee ran in to a philly steak place to get me a sandwich….I stayed in the car…..Kim, sitting up, full of drugs…let’s just say I was going down fast…sweats, spinning world…all that joy.  Sent Lee a text…bring me an ice rag NOW.  He came out…and because he was much smarter than me…turned on the car blasting the A/C at winter levels.  Whew….can I go to bed now?  Kim was coming off the drugs. (My little episode gives me even more empathy towards those battling addiction…my four minutes compared to what has to be days…I can’t imagine the strength.)

Back at the hotel, I resume my left side resting and nibble on my sandwich that honestly was nibbled on only to prevent another full blown world spinning episode.  Finally, rest.

The next day, still on narcotic for cough. I felt drugged…still…not at the same level as the day before, but I wasn’t firing on all cylinders for sure.  We ran back to Chester’s for lunch and then it was time for the clinic appointment for results and being released to go home.

Prelim results: as we all hoped and expected, squamous cell papilloma.  No signs on conversion in the samples taken.  Due to having so many nodules, we are going on the assumption the same will apply to those nodules as well.  It could not be true, but that’s the assumption we are on right now.  So, where does this leave me in this little saga?  On the left, I have the one that was sampled and another one sitting on the pleural wall.  (There are some tiny ones in the left as well, but they seem stable.  The right has some nodules, but they are still too small to sample (7mm and less).) The area against the pleural wall has changed…a good bit.  It has a good bit of cavitation and that can be problematic.  Where we are today is deciding if I want to have the lung resection and remove the two on the left leaving me with only nodules 7mm and under and then go to trial….or skip resection and go straight to trial.  Either way…I’m going to trial-NIH/NIC Baltimore.

I go back to Mayo first week of October to visit with the thoracic surgeon that is focused on VATS procedures.  My goal, if I proceed, is to avoid a full open procedure.  To do the resections via robotic surgery.  I’ve had an open procedure before.  I know what that involves and I am going to have to work super hard over the coming days to put that experience on a shelf so that I can make the best decision on how to proceed.  Leave the two large ones on the left and hope that the one on the pleural wall calms down…and that the one we biopsied stays benign and enter trial….or, resection and then go to trial to work on the smaller ones that would be left after resection.

Pulmonary papilloma just stinks.  When the doctors at Mayo talk about how rare you are…you know you are rare.

So, that’s my medical update.

Have to say this…some folks read their Bible while in the hospital or doctors office for peace…some pray….this chick..well I have found there’s nothing better than an iPod playing Bethel Music, Hillsong, Nockels, Jobe  to put this mind and heart at ease.  Find your place and what takes you there….doctors, nurses all want you to be at ease.  It makes their job easier, procedures easier and most of all….puts a smile on your face!

Please, do not think I am strong or anything close to that.  I’m pitiful.  I whine on a lot of days about this path…I really had rather not be on it…but I am. I don’t understand why, and I very likely won’t in my time here on Earth. All I can do is focus on one step at a time…one pebble at a time…and try not to view the mountain.

Peace out folks….time for more coffee.   (Enjoy this coffee wisdom.)napkin-mayo

 

 

Tune-Up…Things We Say

It’s so strange that I sit here typing with so much in my head and a clear understanding that I am not remotely qualified to write more than, “My name is Kim.” This silly blog that I started as a way to process life with a chronic disease has become at times, therapeutic.  In a way, a virtual journal that some folks read and occasionally like….but more so an outlet to express a day, a week, a month, a season.  Today, I sit here typing with the question swirling in my little pea size brain of….did I start this for me, for you, because I was led to by God?  Maybe, it’s a combination of the three. (This question likely to never be answered fully.)  The move to Chicagoland has forced me so far out of my little “comfort zone” and into a zone where I am forced to really take stock into things I had just taken from others and applied….people much wiser than me…so surely no need to question, doubt, research….verify.  And yet….that’s what I have found myself doing now for a few months…..what if, as I have said before…this was the entire reason I am here….that it has nothing to do with a job…a city….maybe it was the only way God could finally get my attention.  Maybe He had no choice but to pull me up from my roots….

One thing I have been exploring are things I have heard for so long….assuming they were God’s word…or at least a close interpretation of it.  Phrases we say….without a second thought as to if they really are Biblical…you know…those things “good Christians” say.

I think the first offender has to be “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”  Malarkey.  Yes He will, and yes He does.  What is even the point in turning to God if we can truly handle even the hardest of circumstances on our own?  Isn’t the whole point of us being in this broken world to have us see that our only hope..our only way to navigate is by trusting God…something so much bigger than our tiny little humanness?  Everything is more than we can handle…everything.  It’s only because of Christ that we are able to put one foot in front of the other…..That’s the entire premise of faith.

Isaiah 41:10 (The Message)

 “But you, Israel, are my servant.
    You’re Jacob, my first choice,
    descendants of my good friend Abraham.
I pulled you in from all over the world,
    called you in from every dark corner of the earth,
Telling you, ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side.
    I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
    There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
    I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

God never says, Oh Jacob….pull up your bootstraps and figure it out.  If we could handle it…why oh why would God have sent Christ to die on that cross at Calvary?  We can’t.  We didn’t. We never will be able to.

This next one has been swirling in my head a lot lately….maybe it’s all the political rhetoric floating around…maybe it’s being more connected to a health community where I know folks that are wonderful, Jesus loving folks…that well…struggle…whether it’s emotionally, physically or financially….struggle is a daily routine.  It’s the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves.” I see that, I hear that and all I can do is sit and go…nope.  That runs against the entire Gospel of Christ….Sally, well Sally is exactly where she is because she can’t help herself….well…what if Sally really can’t?  Sally, through  no fault of her own, has an illness that makes just walking outside her home a nightmare we can’t imagine?  It seems, to me, the attitude of self-reliance and self-righteousness just doesn’t match up with Matthew 16:24. My new thought process on this is God intended us to be a community…so that when one of us is not strong…weak…whatever the issue may be…we come alongside, with Christ as our captain….to hold that person or community up….and sometimes…that’s a very long gig…sometimes it’s not.

Matthew 16:24 (The Message)

 Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

There are so many more things we say…I’ve said….because well…maybe it’s because I grew up with it and just assumed…maybe it was something I heard in a sermon one day….and I sit here and just type these words going, “Man….some of these things are just hurtful to others.”  I have a feeling this season for me might be a tad long…a season where I have a very long overdue tune-up.  Last night, in a message, the challenge of “Resolve” was issued…so, my “resolve” is that I’m checking my vocabulary…my phrases…and I am going to likely blog as I uncover more of things said…that well…sound all Christian…but aren’t…just man-made gibberish.

As I close for today…I just received a verse via a group text I am part of daily…I close with this:

2 Peter 3:17-18 (The Message)

“But you, friends, are well-warned.  Be on guard lest you lose your footing and get swept off  your feet by these lawless and loose-talking teachers.  Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Glory to the Master, now and forever.  Yes!”

I’ll make a point to title these blogs (my chronicle of my tune-up) so if you want to skip…well..it’s easy.  I’ll start with “Tune-Up.”  Kimmielou signing off….up since 5AM…clearly time for more coffee.

PS-Farmers Almanac is predicting a doozy of a winter here….currently looking for anyone that needs a house sitter on a tropical beach from December-March.  (Insert fact…Kim doesn’t like winter…even mild winters.)