Saturday, August 16, 2014

7 Observations of an Out-of-Practice Babysitter

"Sure, I'll babysit for 8 hours!"  I told my neighbor confidently.  Any human can figure out how to take care of a baby!

A friend text me her support:  And they left you with these babies??? Are they nuts? 

I assured her it was only one baby, and any human is smart enough to figure it out.  But I ended the sentence with a question mark.  Surely any human is smart enough to figure it out? 

Are we? 

1. Algebra:  Taking groceries into the house becomes algebraic when you have a baby along. A.) Do I take the groceries into the house and leave the baby in the car? B.) Do I take the groceries in last and leave the baby in the house?  C.) Is it within the realm of possibility to carry the baby continuously while taking in groceries?

2. Geometry:  Putting a baby horizontally on their stomach does not have the same effect burp-wise as holding the baby vertically.  When you put them vertical again, they will resume vomiting profusely.  

3. Nutritional Science:  How do you know when a baby needs another bottle? I'm pretty sure in eight hours that my baby had as many carbohydrates as a grown man needs in a day, just because I couldn't think of what else to do.  Is it possible to overfeed a baby? 

4. Solutes and Solvents:  Speaking of bottles, they are complicated.  It's best to put the water in the bottle first, then the powdered formula.  Just take my word for it.  

5.  Gymnastics: Another bottle complication: usually the bottle is being made because the baby is crying or unhappy.  Picking the baby up makes the baby happy, but giving it a bottle might make it happier. So is it reasonable to temporarily cause unhappiness by setting the baby down so you can make the bottle?  Or are super baby people able to make a bottle of formula while safely holding the baby? 

6.  Time Management Strategies: Keeping a baby for the afternoon doesn't sound like a lot of work at all, and there should be plenty of time to do other productive things while the baby is happily playing with his toes.  Why didn't I get anything productive done?

7.  Spirituality:  That baby, arching his back defiantly because he doesn't think he wants to be rocked, is just like me.  My arms, firmly around him, are just like the God I thought I knew.  We fight God, because we are sure we know better, but in his mercy, he holds us tight until we quit struggling and finally surrender to the best life we could ever live.  We understand God's plan no better than the baby understands ours!  (Although in this case, I can't blame the baby if he was skeptical!)

"Was he good?" Mom asked when she came to pick him up.  

I wasn't sure how to answer that.  The question of goodness was more about me.  Was I good at it?  

Thankfully, she didn't ask that! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

7 wonders of the porch...

Screened in porches.  Cluttered porches.  Painted porches, wooden porches. Porches filled with people. 

Odd trend noticed when on foot: the nicer the house, the less chance there is actually someone sitting on the porch.  Is having a nice porch worth it if you never have time to sit on it?

Two men sit drinking coffee in the morning sunlight on their porch smile at me and we exchange waves. There's a rich culture behind sitting on the porch, one that ambitious, busy people can learn from.

This afternoon, a young neighbor lady of mine invited me to come over. 
"What are you doing?" I asked. 
"Just sitting on the porch," she said.  
I went.  

So many favorite life moments occur on porches.  Take for example:

1. Music and Coffee
 2. Stretching

 3. Flowers
4. Ice Cream

5. Light

 6. The moon

7. Sleeping 

Good night!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

7 Best Texts of the Week July 27-August 2

In reviewing my phone, favorite texts from favorite people: 
1.) Sunday: "I call those moments hugs from God!"

2.)  Monday:  "So how many points is 3 ears of corn with probably 1 1/2 T of butter plus salt? :(" 

3.)  Tuesday:  "Were vs we're. Their vs there vs they're.  Never trust spell check."

4.)  Wednesday: "2:15 [am] tomorrow" (Question: "When do you get up?") 

5.) Thursday: 

6.)  Friday:  " You want a 4th?  We have a critter that I'm sure is part tiger and part dog but was born to a cat..."

7.) Saturday: "You into bumming around with [us] tonight?" 

P.S....Saying yes to the last turned out to be a disaster... but that's a story I won't be able to tell publicly for years to come!

Have a great new week! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

We Think You Are Rich

"Miss Katrina, we think you are rich," the little girl said, following me into my tiled kitchen.  "Are you?"

"No," I said instinctively. 

But confusion fogged my mind as I walked back out to the art room with her, where she and her sisters were painting and coloring on the floor.
The carpet was spread with pages of my old Wall Street Journals to catch stray globs. 
They asked me how I had a whole house to myself.
I made a reply about my church owning it first, which sort of meant nothing.

How easy it is to forget that rich is a subjective term! 

When I'm at the hospital, and I tell people I live on Brady Street, I don't feel rich.
When I'm on Brady Street, and tell people I work at the hospital, I do feel rich. 

Rich is a conundrum, like safe or cold or big.  
You can only make sense of these adjectives if there is an accepted standard of normal.
So who decides what is normal?
Brady Street?
Beverly Hills?
In my world, the accepted standard of normal changes with a 1/2 mile drive to work, or a 1/2 hour drive to church.
Then I come home, and I'm rich again. 

Which world is right? 
Who wrote these rules?  

And then I remember the words I read this morning. 

"Whoever would save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

That's what it means to be rich: to understand this impossible truth. 
You are rich if you tell God you will trust him when your life makes no sense.
You are rich if you do something you know is right, when you long to do something easier.
You are rich if you can sit on your porch in a torn chair and look up at the moon and be at peace.
You are rich if your heart spills over with joy that doesn't evaporate.
You are rich if you know you are right where God wants you to be.
You are rich if you have the strength to keep praying when you know God hasn't answered you yet.
You are rich when you realize that every possession, talent, or hour in your life is owned by God and could be reclaimed at any moment. 
You are rich if God gives you chances to share those hours, possessions, and talents.

This is the only rule that matters.
Those who can learn it can live it, I think, in any world.

"Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!" Romans 11:33

God, flood us!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ever Just the Same...Ever a Surprise!

"Ever just the same!
Ever a surprise!
Ever as before!
Ever just as sure as the sun will rise!

Tale as old as Time.....
Tune as old as song....
Bittersweet and strange!
Finding you can change!
Learning you were wrong!

It's just an old love song, from Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast.  Why are love songs so popular?  I don't think they would be popular in a world where people actually experienced love constantly and completely.  Generally, I think people enjoy love songs because that is what they long for, rather than because that is what they experience.

As I fell in love with this song, I began to realize that there is only one relationship that meets the expectations of these lyrics: our relationship with God. 

Ever just the same!
Did you see notice that the sun rose again this morning?

Ever a surprise!  
Did you really look at the sunrise? I promise you the morning sun I saw on the St. Joseph's River has never been before, and never will be again!

Ever as before! Ever just as sure as the sun will rise!
In this wildly unstable world of economies and insurance and disappearing jets, we crave something...Someone....who will not change!

Tale as old as time...Tune as old as song!
He is not just as old as but older than both time and song!

Bittersweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong! 
And as we reach out and just touch the hem of his garment....just take one step toward him and toward a relationship with him...we find we can change....we learn we were wrong...we learn it was Satan that told us we were hopeless, and God--who is ever just the same--who tells us we can change.

To have a relationship with Someone who is always the same, yet always a surprise! Always consistent and stable, but always interesting and creative!

As we walk with him...we become like him!
More and more our lives become orderly and consistent (ever just the same!).
We become more interesting (ever a surprise!).
We laugh more, we love more!  We inspire the people around us (finding we can change!) learn
that when Satan told them that they could never change, He was wrong (learning we were wrong!).

All because we know the one who is....ever just the same....ever a surprise!

The human race has such a gift for doing things backwards. We think, Oh, our relationship with God should be like a good marriage, rather than thinking, Wouldn't it be awesome to have a human relationship that is similar to the relationship I have with God!

Is there any reason why this should not be possible?  Is there any rule that says that our relationship with God can't be the most motivating force in our lives, stronger than any other affection, interest, or love? Who made the rule that faith in a Person you cannot see is not enough to sustain us?

Just because it is the exception to the rule does not mean it is impossible... Just because people live for things and relationships that are less than God does not mean that it is out of the questions for God to be the most exciting reality in your life.  This kind of living is not well represented in our world today.

But I refuse to believe it is impossible.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Those Chariot Wheels of Fear

God didn't use 10 plagues to get me to start my new job. As I mentioned in my last blog, God has always made the final call about where I should work, and he's done so with drama...the failed polygraph, the 30 minutes-too-late phone call, etc.  This time, he used the giant fiberglass painted heart, my love of French toast, my friend Barb, the heart surgeon's assistant Christine, and my mom to make his point. I have no doubt--NOT ONE--that God wants me in this new position. 

They called me the day after I posted my last blog to offer me the job. I'm glad God reminded me to give thanks for his guidance in the past, before I got my new answer. 

Sometime I hope to tell you the whole French toast and heart surgeon and mom story, but that's not what's up today.  What's up today is that I'm standing on the edge of the Red Sea, and the Egyptian army is chasing me. I have three more nights left of my old job, and despite the excitement of the journey...despite that I know it's right and that it's a dream job come true and that I love to learn... I keep hearing the chariot wheels of fear.

I used to think I was brave. I took the train alone from Brooklyn to Manhattan without a fear.  I planned our trip to England.  I interviewed random people in tornado-ridden towns I had never visited before.  But I've come to realize that fears of other kinds have been my taskmaster for many years. 

I fear conflict.  I'd rather smooth everything over. 
I fear noise and chaos.  I'd rather be reading a book wrapped in a fuzzy blanket. Drinking tea.
I fear the unknown.  I'd rather stick with the old familiar paths.
I fear disappointing people. I'd rather not attempt than fail. 
I fear conversations.  I'd rather be blogging, where there's plenty of time to think things over.
I fear switching from night shift to day shift, because I always get feel sub-par for a week or two.
I fear day shift. I like the calm and peace of the night.
I fear introductions.  I have a dreadful time remembering people's names.

My new job involves everyone of those things.  

I wonder how Moses kept from panicking when he heard the wheels.

Moses said to the people: 
"The Egyptians [those fears!] whom you see today, 
you shall never see again. 
The Lord will fight for you, 
and you have only to be silent." 

How did Moses know?

A few days ago, I asked Christine, one of the people I will be working with: "Can you give me some calming words [about starting the new job]?" 

She looked thoughtful for a moment.

"No," she said. "You just have to start."

Exodus 14, God told Moses the same thing. "Why do you cry to me? Tell the people to go forward."

God had a great point.  The people had just seen all the wonderful miracles, and they were scared again.  I would never be like that.  Haha. 

Oh, God, help me to just keep walking down the seashore. I will think of the French toast. I will give thanks for the other miracles that brought me to this moment. I will remember the other times I faced conflict, and noise, and chaos (co-worker screaming in linen closet? co-worker crying about other co-worker? mentally ill patients?) and by the power you gave me, I faced those fears.  I will praise you out loud if need be to block out the sound of the wheels. God, I suspect you want to forever free me from those old fears that enslaved me and kept me from complete efficiency.

Perhaps this is the last time I will hear those wheels.

Katrina, how about a little reminder (God asked me) since you have such a hard time remembering to give thanks, even after I blanketed your life with blessings? Why don't we make your last night of work be Thanksgiving night?

I love God. He's awesome. He always thinks of the most ironic and interesting things. (Who but God would think of throwing French toast into a career decision?) So I'll be giving thanks this week, all the way up to Thanksgiving night, when I walk off of the shore, and step into the Red Sea.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mental Nicotine

Repainted many times. Not finished yet.

One night I muscled my 10-lb medical textbook out of my book case and turned to the heart section.  I read that if a smoker quits smoking, they can reverse the damage of 10 years of smoking in 1 year. 

Most people think that smoking effects your lungs, and it does, but it is also devastating to the heart.
I always knew that it would be good for smokers to quit smoking, but would it really help?  After all those years of damage, what's the use of stopping now? 

Like a smoker, many people have wasted hours, days, and years on mental cigarettes of fear, covetousness, pride, or anger. I think I tended to fear sometimes that following God would be boring and drab.  Certainly if God had given me what I deserved, he would have abandoned me long ago.  But somehow whenever I drop my cigarette of fear (or pride....or anger), there's God, ready to start the restoring process.  Sometimes I can almost physically feel his restoration pouring through my soul.

 If 40 years of smoking damage can be reversed in just 4 years, just because of the healing properties of the human heart, then I'm sure God's ability to restore our damaged immortal hearts must be even greater.

All we have to do is stop smoking.