5/30/07 At the End of the Day…the Hope of Heaven

Tonight at Kindred Community Church Dave Dunn continued his study in the book of Revelation. We dove in chapter 4. Jesus had just finished giving His messages to the seven churches and now John seems to have an almost out of body experience as Jesus bid him to “Come up here and see what must take place”.

It was exciting and Dave has a way of bringing every nuance out of a passage or a verse. It makes it so rich and so very full. I tell you…when we study the word of God…I feel like the disciples on the road to Emmaus and want to shout “Didn’t our hearts burn within us!” The word of God is magnificent.

This lesson seemed to coincide with what God was impressing upon me today. I was interacting with someone…a non-believer…and was struck by how hopeless their life is….and I can understand why. If this is it…and I don’t know God…and if my earthly existence is messed up…then I would be utterly hopelessly depressed…in despair.

Without knowing in confidence that my sins are forgiven, paid in full…and that one day…I will go to heaven…how could I have peace? Peace with God, other people and myself? I couldn’t…plain and simple…it would be impossible. I would feel constantly on edge…wondering did I tip the scales enough in favor of good…so that God might approve of me. How much good is enough? And what happens if I die on the heels of a bad day…when I really blew it?

Or worse yet…that this world is it…and then I die. Yikes…don’t want to even go down that road.

I am so grateful that God by His predetermined plan…called me to be one of his own. I have a hope…and a future. Life down here…may be good…or bad. But at the end of the day…it pales in comparison to the hope and rewards that face me in eternity.

But the unbeliever on the other hand…has only what they have in the here and now. So what are they to do when problems abound? Problems at home, at work, in finances, with their health, in their marriage, with their children and with family. What’s a person to do when they can’t turn to God…because they don’t believe? How can anyone carry such burdens…burdens that they can’t lay down before a loving God? How do they make wise decisions…when they must rely on their own wisdom or the wisdom of the world? What books does an unbeliever consult? Whom do they esteem…and get wise counsel from? How do they know what’s right and wrong?

I guess I do know the answer to that after all. You see I came to Christ relatively late in life…at the age of 32. So I know first hand what a godless existence is like. I turned to myself for answers and wisdom and support…and what failing miserable existence that was. Now on the other side…I can testify to the goodness, kindness, faithfulness and mercies of my Lord…which are new every morning. Of rich graces that He pours out upon me daily.

The existence of an unbeliever is kind of like trying to navigate a maze in a lonely, cold, wet, muddy and dark tunnel. You feel your way…but have no solid point of reference to move towards…you don’t know if you are making progress or even moving in the right direction. You don’t have anyone to coach and encourage you. How sad…how very sad. It truly makes me want to pray that they too will one day have forgiveness of their sins…and the hope of heaven.

Indeed…I do have the hope of heaven. Not because of any good work of mine. That hope is based solely on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. His atoning death…acceptable to the Father…a propitiation for my sins. More than that…I get the Holy Spirit who dwells within me…and marks me as one of His own. Sealed with an everlasting covenant. Nothing that Susan does…can change that or make it go away. So even after a bad day… I know I have forgiveness of my sins…and help for each day, each hour.

To top that I have the promise of heaven. Tonight Dave shared why he believes the interpretation of the rapture to be correct…and gave many scriptures to back it up. Just reading those scriptures brings a renewed sense of hope and peace. It is my prayer that those reading this may have that hope too. Need some assurance today? Need some hope…how about the hope of heaven? Read God’s word and be filled with hope filled to overflowing.

1 Thessalonians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 15:32, Revelation 3:7-8, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1Thessalonians 4:17 & 4:13, Acts 1:11, Matthew 24:27, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2, Genesis 5:21-24, Genesis 7, Genesis 19, 1Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, Acts 1:10-11, 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, Revelation 3:10, Revelation 19:11-14

To look up the passages…go to Bible Gateway…a most excellent tool in these extraordinary days.

5/22/07 At the End of the Day…Change is in the Wind

First I’d like to say thank you to Kim Beringer…my friend…and my encourager. What a wonderful thing to be known as…an encourager. Indeed she is that…and more. I’ve known Kim for a number of years now. When I reflect upon Kim what strikes me is that she is so very real in her faith and how she views life. Her faith runs deep…and it is a part of her. She doesn’t expect people or situations to be perfect…yet she always seeks to bring something to the table and make it better. Never will you hear a word gossip from her…but you will hear a tale of good that somebody’s done. She looks on the bright side of things…but doesn’t deny the hurt. She strikes a perfect pitch. Kim is my Yenta…and continues to encourage me in my desire to be married. Kim always shares a word of encouragement about my writing. I am most grateful to you dear one.

That day I was standing at the copier…about the last thing I expected was to see his face. After all he had left the company five years ago. I don’t remember him coming back to the building since then. Oh there was the occasional lunch and phone calls…but I never would have expected to seem him back here. In fact he and the family had just moved to North Carolina. Maybe that explains my surprise at seeing Terry Sullivan. But that doesn’t necessarily explain my tears.

I was shocked to seem him and felt like I was dreaming…even as I hugged him. He asked how I was…that’s when I started to tear up. I couldn’t hide it and I couldn’t explain it. Terry was passing through and just came in to say “hi”.

I think I was just overwhelmed with emotions…it made the losses of the past year seem all the more poignant. Terry asked how I was…and I said “I’m doing okay” and yet I cried.

Terry had been my boss for a number of years. Actually I remember him when he was but a young pup, up and coming…who went on to greatly prosper in his career. The thing I liked best about working with Terry…he’s a no nonsense kick butt…get things done kind of guy. Both for himself…and the team that he led. Terry was refreshing to work with…and he cared about people…and had a lot of courage. Seeing Terry…reminded me of how much I loved that which I had lost.

The past year has been a difficult one. Some ups and downs…an emotional roller coaster. Times when I let my faith fail me. It failed me when I got my eyes off Jesus and instead focused on me and my circumstances. But it was also a time to grow and ease into a place that I didn’t want to be planted. Even in the midst of that unplanned and undesired change…God brought people into my path…that made a difference for good. Without those people…I’m not sure how I would have made it through some very dark days. God used people to make a difference…a difference for good.

In short time we will be moving to a new location…the final step of being bought out will finally come to fruition. I will be leaving a building that I’ve been at for I don’t know how many years now…at least seven…maybe more.

I feel bittersweet about this. I will miss some of the folks that will remain with our old company. In some respects…I’ll just be glad to be done with it and have fresh start. The building holds so many memories…mostly good ones. But it’s kind of like having good memories of a wonderful marriage…only to have your spouse leave you. You are grateful for the good times…but thinking about them now only serves to bring you pain.

I had a job that I absolutely loved for so very long…and I’m grateful. I gave it my all…quality work…and continuing to improve was paramount with me. I wanted to continue to grow and better myself. I kept years and years of great records. Data that I had believed could be used to make the department and the company better.

But that all came to a screeching halt when we got word that the company had been sold. Instead now I was making back up discs of data…and sending away, throwing away pile, after pile, after pile…of my work. The work that I thought to be so very important…all of a sudden it was irrelevant. The time spent to make sure a report was accurate and picture perfect was now in trash bin. The work I had done…the goals I had came to naught.

I don’t think I realized it then…but after a year…I think I understand…it’s about the people. People who are loved by God and created in His image.

Don’t get me wrong. No matter what job I have…I’ll give I my all. I’ll work hard and give you my best. But at the end of the game…that work will one day just end up in a heap, in a pile of trash. What’s important…what matters is the people. If I get that wrong…if I’ve messed that up…then I’ve really blown it.

The job I had before I loved and was meaningful to me. I never, ever, wanted…to have “just a job”. But even now as I work…and reports that seem so critical and are needed yesterday…I’m cognizant…and at times overwhelmed…about how meaningless it is.

Recently I was talking with Beth at Bible Study Fellowship. Beth had just started a new job and was saying she liked it…that she found the work meaningful. She likes being able to do paperwork…it suited her and she felt like she was making a difference. I didn’t say anything…because I understand what that feels like. It’s nice when we have work that suits our skills, talents and abilities. But make no mistake…the work itself…at the end of the day will have no lasting value.

What’s it about? It’s about people. It’s about fulfilling God’s greatest commandment…to love the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul and strength…and love my neighbor as myself. People are of eternal value precisely because they were created in the image of God. The means by which we interact with them may be through our work. That is the avenue that God may use…and if He throws in a job we like…so much the better. But it’s not necessarily the work in and of itself. Of course there are exceptions…perhaps in the medical profession or law enforcement…and of course the ministry. But what’s the focus? People!

As a Christian…I must be a good worker. Someone who does outstanding work…so that I may bring glory, honor and praise to my Savior Christ Jesus. It’s also a means by which I may be given credibility…and build relationships. So when that time comes to be able to witness to them with the Gospel message…so that the seed of the Word of God may fall on good soil. Or it may be building relationships…so when difficult times come…I can be there because we have a relationship already in place and they know I care.

It’s about the people. They may think they need this report or that report…but really it’s about building relationships with people. People…not companies…are of eternal value.

We continue to have more and more changes. Even as we plan our move and pack boxes…more people have announced they are retiring or are leaving the company. People that I have known for years and years. Before I would have felt much sadder at their parting…but this year I almost feel numb…and tell them “good for you”. I think it’s a self defense…that way when they leave…it hurts a little less.

Well I say all that only to add that I’ve put in a bid for job within the company. I think I might like it…but don’t know for sure. It seems like God is opening doors. But at the same time…I feel absolutely at peace even if I don’t get the job…which is a pleasant surprise. After last year…and feeling absolutely torn up when I failed to get the job I wanted…I feel at peace and am trusting God in this one. If I get it great…if I don’t that’s okay too.

I feel a change in the wind…and I pause and feel like I’m putting my face into the wind. I contemplate and wonder…what would it be like to go into the ministry? Into a job where I was doing work of eternal or lasting value? Would I find it more meaningful…knowing my work was impacting the kingdom of God?

I guess in some respects…all work can impact the kingdom of God. Either for good or bad. Will I choose to be mindful of the truly important things? Will my focus be on that which is of eternal value…the souls of men and the Word of God? It can be my focus right now…will it be?

Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
still all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
yet in my dreams I'd be
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
There let the way appear, steps unto heaven;
all that thou sendest me, in mercy given;
angels to beckon me
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
Then, with my waking thoughts bright with thy praise,
out of my stony griefs Bethel I'll raise;
so by my woes to be
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
Or if, on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I fly,
still all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

Lyrics: Sarah F. Adams, 1805-1848,  Music:  Lowell Mason, 1792-1872

David…as we sung this hymn this morning I thought of you…and your love for hymns. So this one is dedicated to you dear one!

5/19/07 At the End of the Day…Visible Faith

I have a few people in my life that I genuinely admire. People whom have qualities or whose character truly stands out.

What stands out about one such person…is her faith. It comes out…not just in her words…which are quite eloquent…but in how she lives her life. What she does, what she says…and how she treats people. It’s also quite visible when I look at how she approaches God…understands Him…how she loves Him and how she shares that love with others.

She is ever so humble…and would be quite embarrassed if I were to reveal her name. She would protest…and immediately give all praise to her Savior Christ Jesus. Indeed…he has transformed this woman into a most gracious example of His love.

One thing that is apparent is her peace. No matter the circumstance…she carries that peace. Peace which passes all understanding is deep within her. The peace she has is not based on circumstances going her way…happening within her time frame…or because she has been blessed with perfect health or finances. Instead it’s an implicit trust in her Savior…in His character and His word.

It’s truly something to behold. When her prayer ends with “Thy will be done”…it’s not just for show or a closing to a prayer. She doesn’t hesitate to pray exactly for what is seemingly needed. Yet…she humbly submits all things to God’s will. She has a boldness and confidence in her prayers to God…yet she knows He will never answer anything that is against His will. She is quite willing to relinquish the controls over to Jesus.

Her prayers give evidence that she truly believes the Bible when it states…that God works all things together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purposes. Knowing that even the direst of circumstances are not beyond God’s redeeming power.

Her sight is not on her circumstances. She does not waver because she is centered on Christ Jesus. It reminds me of a tiny sparrow tucked safely in her nest in the cleft of a rock…as a storm wails and unleashes its flurry around her…she remains safe, warm and dry.

Seeing such faith lived out…not just for show on Sunday…but in everyday life…is truly something to behold. Indeed she is tucked safely in the cleft of the Rock…the King of kings and Lord of lords.

I find it challenges me in my faith to come up higher. When I see someone demonstrating such faith…and see the faithfulness of God…I desire to have that kind of living and visible faith. It also makes me realized how impacting our faith or lack thereof can be on others. That ought to make me tremble with a healthy fear.

“Fear of the Lord…is the beginning of wisdom.” – Proverbs 1:7

5/16/07 At the End of the Day…Random Reflections

Tonight…was another wonderful night at Bible study. Dave Dunn is going through the book of Revelation. We’ve been going through the letters to the seven churches…one a week. Dave just jam packs the study. First he paints a historical word picture of what that culture would have been like. He’s so effective…there are times I swear I could step from the pages into the city. It makes understanding the passage so much richer and fuller.

Tonight we studied about the church at Philadelphia…the one church that God commended…and held no charge against. We learned that Philadelphia had been known by two other names…Neocaesarea and Flavia after Roman Caesars. So when Jesus says to he who overcomes that Jesus “will write on him the name of God, and the name of the city of God and I will also write on him My new name” that meant something to them.

Bear with me…not sure if I can explain my thinking on this. But to me…it spoke of love and marriage and a deep abiding love…so much so that you want to be identified with and connected to the one you love…and have it known to all. And Jesus says that He will write it…a personal touch. Our Savior will write that name upon us.

You see…for as long as I remember I’ve wanted to be married. When I get married…and want to take and bear my husband’s last time. To be known as one. What a wonderful thing to do…bestow upon your bride your last name…and what a wonderful loving thing that bears witness to.

In the New Testament…the church is referred to as the “bride of Christ”. So having that new name bestowed upon us by our Savior Christ Jesus…seems such a rich extravagant love. He cares for us…and makes it known by giving us His name.

Well what’s in a name? A whole heck of a lot…especially when you read the Bible. The name of the people often described their character. So much so that when they had an encounter with God and He changed them…he gave them new name to reflect that change.

When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior…we take the name Christian. What we do is reflection on Him….for good or bad. When I grasp that…I realize that if I act unbecomingly…it reflects on Jesus. It makes me want to be cautions and bring glory to my Lord…not reproach. Bring glory to the One I love.

The Day the Blogging Bug Bit!

Today marks 2nd Blogging Anniversary…and what an adventure it’s been. Indeed it is a happy anniversary. From the first day…when my fingers first hit those keys…I was bit by the blogging bug. Any of you who blog…know just what I mean.

As a regular listener to the Hugh Hewitt radio show that’s where I first heard about this thing called blogging. The more he talked…the more intrigued I was. You see I’ve always loved to write…I got to thinking what an avenue this could be. It had been years since I had written a paper…all the way back to my college days…and many, many years since I had written poems. But oh do I love to write. Lets just say…I never lack for an opinion and like to think I’m pretty logical and well reasoned in my arguments. People may disagree with my conclusions…but they will at least understand what I believe and why.

Two years ago on May 15, 2005…I started my blog. My first article…was notes from a sermon by my beloved former Pastor Chuck Obremski. It was a sermon entitled “Living Life In Light of Eternity – Life in the Intermediate Heaven”…part of a series of messages that we affectionately call the “Heaven Series”.

2005 was a very emotional time…in large part because of the battle my beloved Pastor Chuck Obremski had been fighting with cancer. Just months after stepping out in faith and following the Lord’s leading to established Kindred Community Church, Chuck was diagnosed with cancer. It was kind of confusing because God was definitely leading our church and then our Pastor was stricken with cancer. But make no mistake…this was part of God’s plan. Why exactly…I don’t know. But I do know that He has used it in a mighty and powerful way to bring glory, honor and praise to Christ Jesus.

Through this time our congregation rode the “cancer coater”…the ups and downs…highs and lows that come with good reports and the bad news that another spot was found. Praise God…Chuck kept the faith…and never lost sight of his Savior Jesus Christ. As a result…he did some of the best preaching. Sermons that God continues to use in the lives of hurting people. He uses them to transform lives…and bring people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

A lot of what I wrote about back then…revolved around Chuck and faith and trusting God during impossible times. God allowed me to be ministered to through the gift of writing. I was able to work things out on paper. An electronic journal of sorts.

When I first started blogging I met, via the web, David Fisher at Pilgrim Scribblings. David knew Chuck from baseball chapel days. He was following Chuck’s battle from afar. I was googling Chuck’s name…and discovered David. He’ll always hold first place in my heart. Precious David…was a great comfort to me and was amazed to see the work that God was doing through Chuck’s ministry. Thank you dear David…indeed you are dear…and I’ll be eternally grateful to you. David is also a mentor. A godly Christian man…who always encourages others and brings glory to his Savior Christ Jesus.

Through David…I met other Christian bloggers. People…is what makes blogging so compelling. Through it…I’m able to meet like minded souls…and kindred spirits. People like my dear Terry at Canadian Blogger. Terry is the most thoughtful of souls…and is always leaving an encouraging note or e-mail for all her blogger buds. Then there’s Janna at “Bread Crumbs”. Janna probably doesn’t know this…but she too is a mentor in that she is mature in her faith…and walks a lovely humble Christian walk. She is knowledgeable on Christian doctrine…and always seeks to build up the body of Christ. There is Debra at “As I See It Now”. I find Debra’s site ever so intriguing. She writes about life…but is open and transparent and shares from the heart. She makes the ordinary seem extraordinary. She has a lovely spirit. There is BJ at “Friends Are a Gift”…and indeed they are. BJ has heart for God, her family and friends. Terry, Janna, Debra and BJ…you are indeed Proverbs 31 women. Those are just few of my blogger buds. Thank you each of you for enriching me and others who have discovered your most excellent work and the lovely people that you are. Thank you for sharing Christ through your work.

In the intervening years…I’ve written a lot…just recently hit the 500 mark. Of those 500 articles…I’ve had my favorites. Like the article on Robert Wiltfang…and the “dancing episode”. Who would have thunk it? Then there were a few articles that have had a lot of response. The article on Tookie Williams execution and my Christian response to Shirley Phelps-Roper on her hate filled speech. Some articles are just me working through the faith issues. All too often…I come out at the end of a failure or mishap…and I’m working through the process. Of all of my favorites…are the poems. They were God’s gift to me…to help heal emotions and hurt. They captured a moment in time.

When I’m in the writing grove…things just flow…and I have to get out of the way. When I’m in that mode…articles and poems seem to write themselves. I hate it when I have a dry spell…when I want to write…but have problems putting three words together to form a sentence. It seems like lately…I’ve wanted to write…but haven’t had the time. I find…if I don’t write when the inspiration strikes…I loose it or it’s flat. On occasion…I have a thought that is ruminating in my mind. After I’ve mulled it over for some time…I’m then able to write that piece in a thoughtful manner.

One of the highlights of this blogging adventure was attending the GodBlogCon 2006 at Biola. I even got to meet Hugh Hewitt and sat with him during desert as he table hopped in order to meet a lot of folks. In the above picture I’m in the audience watching and listening to Hugh do his live remote. Later that evening…Hugh headed a panel discussion on Christian blogging. It was wonderful. I only wished that David, Terry, Janna, Debra and BJ could have been there too.

I thank you Jesus…for giving me the love of writing…and for this avenue….and for my many blogger friends. I’m ever so glad I was bit by that blogging bug…just two years ago today.

At the End of the Day…Inner Reflections

I don’t want my trust in God to be dependent upon my circumstances.

This years study with Bible Study Fellowship has been a struggle for me. I feel like I’m barely making it across the finish line. When I look back over the past year…in an attempt to figure out why this year was different…I see a lot of factors that influenced me. But if the truth be told…I may be using them as an excuse for something else…something from within me. That’s why my bedtime prayer will be asking God to help me clearly see and understand what within me held me back and caused me to struggle. To keep me from a full, no holds barred commitment to studying God’s word. More than that…to make a change…so that in the fall I’ll be on track as we study Matthew. To be obedient…even when my feelings haven’t caught up with my will.

I’ve loved BSF for years…I love the discipline of it. In fact…it spoils me for other Bible studies. I love the combination of studying, sharing, reading and lecture in our concentrated study of the Bible. But this year…not all my cylinders were firing. At times I found it all too easy to have a critical eye. I wonder how much I focused on what was wrong with something or someone else rather than examining the attitude of my heart. Has my love for Jesus waxed cold? Is it because I had my eyes on my circumstances and not my Lord?

In some respects…I think I’ve tried to get through very difficult and challenging circumstances based on my own power, will and might…rather than trusting in God and looking to Him and His word to see me through. Trusting God even when He allows painful circumstances in my life. I think that whole thing comes down trusting God. Instead…the Bible counsels me to lean not on my own understanding…in all my ways acknowledge Him and He will direct my path.

That may mean…it’s a path I didn’t want to walk down it. But I think I’m finding out…better to be on a path not of my own choosing…if Jesus is with me…than to be on my path solo.

I’ll tell you what…I don’t ever, ever want to have another wishy washy lackluster year of Bible study again.

Rudy the Rookie

While not a tiny little baby anymore Rudy is still a kitten…and learning about the ways of the world. Everyday is adventure for the little feller…and everything is a toy. Whether it be an actual kitty toy that gets lost under the refrigerator…a bottle cap that falls to the ground or an alarm clock that turns on and opens up when he sits on it…nothing escapes Rudy’s attention. Everything is game…in spite of protests by his mom.

Yesterday…was not only a day of adventure…but one that was a little scary for Rudy. You see he has a fascination with water. Doesn’t matter if it’s water in his drinking bowl…or water in the bath tub. Never seen this quirk in a kitty before…but Rudy loves to tap the water in his bowl…causing it to spill out. If it’s a good day…it just spills a little bit. When its time for a bubble bath…I can count on Rudy being right by my side. He loves to sit on the edge and peer in at the bubbles. Sometimes he can’t contain himself…and swipes at the bubbles. So far…he hasn’t fallen in despite some close calls. That is until yesterday.

Now I would have snapped some photos of Mr. Rudy after the shower incident…but because of my state of undress I resisted temptation. Not only does Rudy love bubble baths…but he’s quite fond of showers too. I can count on Rudy being at my side during my morning shower…as he sits on the edge of the tub. Only yesterday…he slipped. It took him a couple of seconds to realize that he was getting wet…as the shock of the water pouring over him finally dawned on him. Soon he realized he was wet and perhaps it wasn’t such a peachy keen idea to be in the bathtub with water touching him…he then jumped out right quick.

Honest and truly I did feel bad for the little feller…despite the laughter I could not restrain. Hey…I couldn’t help it. I was surprised that he let me dry him off with a towel so easily. No protest at all in fact…he was even thankful. If that had been Nathan or Moss…forget about it. Good intentions or not…there’s no way I could have done that with them. But Rudy seemed glad to be assisted in drying off. He has short, fine hair…and he dried quickly.

Well yesterday was Rudy’s day for surprises…because that afternoon he had another one awaiting him. It’s been hot here in southern California In the 90’s…which means it’s time to break out the fans. The fans in my bedroom and living room were keeping things cooled down. Since it was warm…I decided to turn on the ceiling fan in the kitchen as well…while Rudy was taking nap on the kitchen tile.

Since I brought Rudy home at the end of October till present…I hadn’t turned on the ceiling fan…so it was a whole new experience. As I later learned…not one that he appreciated.

While I was cleaning away in the hallway…little Rudy came dashing into the hall with hair raised and hisses coming out of his mouth. I looked to see if perhaps he had gotten into a scuffle with Moss or Nate…but no one was to be found. They were off trying to keep cool on this hot day. Rudy’s eyes were fixed on the ceiling fan as if the devil himself was turning it.

When I was able to get Rudy calmed down…I carried him in to the kitchen to get a better view of the fan. Safely tucked into him mom’s arms I guess it didn’t look so fierce after all. I think we had success when by evenings end…Rudy rested by the door taking in the cool air generated by the ceiling fan.

Everyday is an adventure for Rudy…and he usually generates a few laughs along the way. Daily…I’m ever so thankful that I brought him home that day I first saw him at Pet Smart…he’s been a true blessing indeed.

Doctor or Psychiatrist…which will it be?

“You are so lucky!” Those are the first words I heard from my sister Denise when I told her that the doctor said I have a thyroid problem. I was thinking “Hunh”. But then Denise proceeded to explain that if you have a thyroid problem…once it’s corrected you can loose weight easily. Well I guess I hadn’t thought of it exactly like that…but…well hey that doesn’t sound too bad.

For some time now…I’ve been feeling so bad. Positively wretched. So much so that I finally broke down and went to the doctor. Going to the doctor…is about as rare as going to the dentist use to be. That is until last year that is…then things changed.

But by now…even Stoic Susan had to admit…that perhaps a little visit to the doctor couldn’t hurt. Hey…it might even make things better. Well at least it’s worth a try. Brave little me scheduled my doctor’s appointment.

A couple of days after my appointment and blood tests, I got a call from my doctor’s office advising me to go back for further blood tests because it looked like I have problem with my thyroid. The second blood test was more detailed…and indeed confirmed that opinion.

After that…it was off to nuclear medicine for a “Thyroid Uptake Test”. Prior to this test…I had to make sure I wasn’t taking any supplements with iodine. Don’t know the ins and outs about it…but apparently iodine is a naughty no no…when you’re having that test.

The test involved swallowing a radioactive iodine capsule and then having the energy levels and thyroid uptake measured. The one machine was kind of funky. The technician positioned an instrument right above my knee and measured…who knows what. He then took another reading near my thyroid gland. That same night I went back for an additional scan. This one took longer…and despite being in uncomfortable positions for a ½ hour…I found myself dosing off during the scans. The following day…was a quick visit…that entailed the funky scan once again. All in all…painless and quick.

Then I waited. In the mean time…I had a referral to an Endocrinologist so I scheduled an appointment. Unlike the blood test results…these test result weren’t posted on line. On Friday I got a call from my doctor…advising me that the Thyroid Uptake Test confirmed that I have a thyroid problem called Graves disease…and now my care will be handled by the Endocrinologist.

Honest and truly…I was feeling so bad that if it wasn’t something physical…I was ready to go to a psychiatrist. I think I’ve known for a while that there was something wrong. Finally it got to the point where I was feeling so bad…I was thinking something seriously has to be wrong.

When the doctor said Graves disease…I was surprised because I thought my symptoms were more consistent with a hypothyroid…not hyper. But apparently that ain’t so. Who knew that one little gland could wreak so much havoc. Fatigue was probably symptom number one…then I’d say fuzzy head. I feel like I can’t think clearly like I’m in a fog. Then there were the things like dry eyes and anxiety and nervousness. I think the thing that finally put it over the top…the thing that scared me the most…was muscle weakness. To pick up a gallon bottle of water is hard. Not impossible…but difficult. I really have to concentrate to do it. That’s was inspired me to go to the doctor. I know I’m getting older…but nevertheless…there was something wrong.

I never knew the thyroid effected so many areas of the body. These days I think I know what a narcoleptic feels like. If I sit down for any length of time without being active…I can fall asleep. One day…I was working on a spreadsheet…importing data from one sheet into another…and in the middle of it I almost fell asleep. A quick walk around the hallways and a Coke and Snickers later…I was able to get through the day. I find I’m always tired…five hours of sleep or eight…it doesn’t matter… because I’m always tired.

I’ve come to find out that the fatigue stems from the fact that my heart is beating faster. Even at night while I’m resting…it’s going along lickety split. So I might be sleeping…but my body’s not resting. The other thing is it makes me feel anxious…like when you have an adrenaline rush from being scared. It’s kind of weird…because I feel that way most of the time. When I feel anxious all the time…it’s hard to know…when I should really feel anxious and when everything is actually A-okay.

Later this week…I’m off to visit the endocrinologist. I’m quite anxious (no pun intended) to see him. I can wait to be feeling better. Just to have a normal energy level…and not be so tired all the time. To be able to think clearly and not feel like I was just frightened. As of late…I’ve adopted some pretty bad habits…just to get though the day. Things like drinking a Coke and eating a Snickers…mid afternoon.

I’m hoping to soon be feeling better and be able to break some of those nasty habits I’ve developed to compensate for having no energy. I guess like the dentist thing…this year I’m going to get over my fear of doctors…one way or another.

I’ve got to say…I’ve been very impressed with Kaiser. I’ve had them before…and not been overly pleased. But time…Kaiser…gets a big thumbs up from this gal.

What a Difference a Season Makes

Every couple of months I like to stop by the Fullerton Arboretum after church, stroll through the gardens and snap a few photos. One of my favorite views is peering through the trees at a bench that sits along a pathway. My, oh my…what a difference a season makes.

I took the above photo in February. The title that came to mind for this one is “Barely Beautiful”. It’s bare…but the colors are so rich and it’s very beautiful in its own right.

Today…spring flowers greeted me…as I happened upon my favorite scene. This time a gentleman rested on my bench. At first I was disappointed…because I just wanted to capture nature alone. But later when looking at the pictures…I think it capture the scene quite nicely. Perhaps I’m just envious…because he was doing that which I’ve wanted to do for oh, so very long. Rest…rest in the garden.

Because I’m on my way to see my mom…I don’t take that luxury. But one day…that will be me resting. Perhaps even reading a book and sipping on some ice tea as I enjoy the flowers, butterflies and birds…in this little slide of heaven.