Monday, September 01, 2014

Buffalo, Montana

Mike & I just returned from a quick Montana trip to visit Mike's Mom. It was kind of a quick trip and we spent much of it in the car but it was really quite delightful. Although Mike and I have made this trip many times, we decided that this time we were going to take some different routes and see some places we'd not seen before. So, on the way up we explored Buffalo, MT. There are still a few people who live there, and a church that is being used, but much of the town is fading away.

It was fun to imagine people from the past coming and going from this bank.


 I find I love taking photos of old, abandoned buildings.


I enjoyed looking around the area.



 Was this maybe the train depot?
What stories could it tell of people arriving and departing?


What a pretty little church, huh?


 Who do you supposed lived here?
When did the porch fall off?


 The school looked pretty good from a distance but closer up, a little sad.
Still, it was pretty easy to image kids playing outside or
 a group of high school boys trying to impress high school girls.


Maybe this place was someone's first home?
We especially loved the chimney.


Looking at all that evidence of days past is kind of neat, but also rather bittersweet. I think about the people who worked hard to build a life there, and now it is over. They may have descendants scattered far and wide who may not even know of this place or their roots here. It really makes me think about how short our time here really is, when considering the grand scheme of things... dust in the wind and all that.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

World View vs. Christian View

I am borrowing my mother-in-law's computer for a post or two. Thanks, Carol!

Today I was working on my parish nursing course assignment. We all read an article that talked about how our societies help us form our own worldview, or our understanding of values, etc.  It is so easy to judge other cultures by our own worldview.  A worldview can differ greatly between countries but it can also differ between regions.

For example, when we moved from Montana to Southern New Mexico I found some differences. In Montana our children referred to our adult friends by their first names, unless they were their teacher or something. It was not because my children were rude. People, including children, called people by their first names where we lived before. It was not a show of disrespect.

In our town in New Mexico I noticed my friend's children called me Miss Sue. It was sweet but at first sounded really strange to my ears. For one thing, I was not a "miss".  I just noticed it as one of the differences in that region. I think it is kind of a Southern thing. One day, though, it occurred to me that my friends may have thought our children were being rude or disrespectful for calling them by their first name. To my children, that was their name and how they knew them.

Anyway, the article went on to make us think about how our world views can be in conflict with our Christian views. It was very thought-provoking. I was assigned to answer one of the questions and thought maybe you'd like to read it and leave me your thoughts on it. I realize you don't get to read the article but I think you'll get the drift...

How does the Postmodern worldview distort assumptions made about the nature of God, people and reality? What are the characteristics of a Christian worldview?

As I attempt to answer this question, I am so aware of how distorted my answer may be simply because I am constantly fighting this distortion. What I mean is that a worldview is like an accent. It is easy to see (hear) it in others while believing that mine is the "normal" way of seeing (speaking). I will attempt to tackle one aspect of my worldview as it I can clearly see how it is in opposition to my Christian worldview.

I believe a distorted assumption my culture expounds on is the importance of self. From a very young age the media has told me that I must look out for myself, take care of myself first so that I can take care of others and do what makes me happy. We all know there is great truth and wisdom in that. Yet, it becomes a distorted worldview from a Christian standpoint. Aren't we, as Christians, even called to lay down our lives for others? How is that looking out for ourselves? Aren't we to give freely? What if we like our time and our possessions and want them for ourselves? Aren't we called to drop our nets and follow him, even be willing to leave friends and family to follow Christ, no matter what we thought we wanted for ourselves? What if our lives are comfortable and satisfying? What if we want what we want when we want it?

I notice my own worldview has to do with becoming strong and self-sufficient. That seems like a reasonable goal, doesn't it? Independence is at the very core of our society. It is a great thing to be independent, isn't it? I used to think that was a reasonable goal. I now know it to be a very distorted goal. For one thing, it is impossible. We are fools to think we can be totally independent of other people, and even greater fools if we think we can thrive by declaring independece from God. We like to think of ourselves as capable, full of fortitude and intelligence. The truth is, we are totally dependent on God for all wisdom and knowledge and strength. We are nothing without God.

A Christian Worldview is about realizing we are humble creatures deeply in need of the love and compassion of the God of creation. It is about full surrender as opposed to an attitude of conquering. It encompasses an attitude of peace, love and gentleness with the full knowledge that all good comes from our almighty God, not from within ourselves.

 

Sorry


Due to technical difficulties, I lost several posts this week. I put a lot of work into them so now I am frustrated. I am going to have to do things a bit differently a few days, posting from my phone so I will throw out some random phone photos until my problem is resolved.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend!








Monday, August 25, 2014

What is Parish Nursing?

I'm really getting into the Faith Community Nurse Basic Course that I am taking. I've talked to a few friends and co-workers about it and have found that a lot of people are not familiar with the idea of a Parish Nurse (a.k.a. Faith Community Nurse, a.k.a. Congregational Nurse a.k.a health minister). I prepared a little information when I presented the idea to our Church Council that kind of explains a few things. I thought maybe I could share some of that information with you as well.

Sample Roles of a Parish Nurse:
Integrator of Faith and Healing
Health Educator
Health Counselor
Referral Advisor
Health Advocate
Developer of Support Groups
Volunteer Coordinator
Researcher of Available Resources

What a Parish Nurse is Not:
Doctor or any sort of Diagnostician
Hands-on Home Health Nurse
Physical, occupational or psychotherapist
Clergy

Sample of Topics a Parish Nurse Could Address:
Smoking Cessation
Insomnia Treatment
Weight Loss Programs
Exercise Programs
Oral Health
Loneliness
Church Safety (AED’s, First Aid Kits)
Praying with Church members
Preventative Education
Violence Prevention
Disaster Preparedness

A Parish Nursing Program can draw current and future parishioners closer into the church family.  As any pastor can tell you, people remember who was with them during their times of trial. It is an opportunity to be used by our God to show his love to those in need. 

Why do this? 
There are so many people who are hurting, frightened, lonely, etc.  Our healthcare system doesn’t always do a very good job of seeing patients with a wholistic approach, that is, they are not treated in a way that encompasses body, mind AND spirit...the whole person.  A Parish Nursing Program is a way to practice health and wellness with spirituality and faith woven throughout.

A Parish Nursing Program helps the pastor. A pastor spends a great deal of time with the sick. While a Parish Nurse would not want to take the pastor’s place in those situations, he/she can certainly assist the pastor to reach more people.

Of course I can't do all of those things myself, not while working full-time elsewhere. I'm hoping more will join me and eventually the program will grow. For now, it is starting quite small and slow.

How about any of you; do you have parish  nurses in your congregation? Are you a nurse interested in using your skills in a new way?


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sara's Birthday Post

Happy Birthday to our daughter-in-law, Sara!
She has added her own special sparkle to our family and we love her.




Jeanne Robertson "Don't go to Vegas without a Baptist"

I was looking for a nice Christian song or something for my post tonight but I ran upon this video. I hope it makes you laugh as it did me. Enjoy!



Friday, August 22, 2014

About Depression

(This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post except it reminded me of a sweet, leisurely day.)

Have I mentioned that I am a multi-tasker? It's been a bit out of hand this week. In fact, I am writing this post while watching a movie on TV with my husband. I really just had a few too many things on my plate this week.  I worked of course, even into overtime.  I spent an evening with others who are passionate about the pregnancy care center where I am a volunteer board member. I've worked a bit every evening on a class I am taking online. It is a course on parish nursing (faith community nursing). This is something I'm pretty excited about.

I am sure I'll be talking about parish nursing more in the future. I'm starting a parish nursing program at our church.  It's more just in the early planning stage while I'm taking this course but one thing I am trying to do is to write articles for our church newsletter. This month I chose to write about depression as we've had several suicides in our community in the last 2 weeks. It is so heartbreaking. 

Anyway, my articles aren't particularly scholarly but perhaps they will be helpful to someone. As long as I've already written this one, I decided I may as well share it here with you.  If you are a member of the same congregation as me, sorry for the repeat. As for me, I'm going to turn off my computer and see if I remember how to relax. Here's the article...

We have all had periods of feeling sad or down, but when that feeling does not pass within a couple of days, interferes with daily activities or causes misery for yourself or those who love you, it is time to seek help. There are a variety of methods that can help relieve depression, from medications to psychotherapies.

There are different types and levels of depression.  An individual person may suffer from just one type or may, over the course of time, experience different levels of depression.  One form of depression is referred to as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. This type occurs during the winter months and may be associated with a person being exposed to less natural sunlight. It can be treated with light therapy, possibly combined with antidepressant medication and/or psychotherapy.

Some women suffer from Postpartum Depression after giving birth. Hormonal and physical changes may contribute to this type of depression. A sense of overwhelming sadness, can cause extreme distress to a mother who may not understand why she is not feeling the joy she’d anticipated with the birth of her new baby.

For some, a depressed mood can last for years. This may be Persistent Depressive Disorder.  People who suffer from this may also have periods where they also suffer from the more debilitating Major Depression.  

Major depression causes such severe symptoms of hopelessness or sadness that it interferes with work, sleep, nutrition, relationships…pretty much any part of life. It can occur in episodes and it can wear a person down to the point of hopelessness.

Bipolar Disorder is another type of depression.  This takes the form of depression alternating with a very high mood which may be accompanied by over-activity and perhaps risk-taking behaviors.  

There are other forms of depression as well. All are disruptive and many are dangerous.
It is believed that depression can be caused by a combination of factors, including genetic, biological and situational factors.  Physical problems, such as thyroid disorders, can cause depression. There is still a lot that is as yet unknown about the causes of depression.

Seeking help for depression is key to recovery. Recognizing signs and symptoms is key to identifying a need for help. Signs might include feelings of emptiness, guilt or worthlessness. Some people present with irritability or fatigue, perhaps a loss of energy. They may no longer find pleasure in things they once enjoyed. They may lose their appetite or perhaps eat much more than they did before. Some may have trouble sleeping or they may sleep much more than normal.
Of course, thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts are more obvious signs that something is very wrong. Suicide threats must always be taken seriously. Even the most severe cases of depression can be treated.

I sometimes wonder if Christians find it even harder to seek help for their depression. You know, we are all about hope and love and joy, aren’t we? Of course we are. Yet, as it turns out, we are not immune to illness, whether it be psychological, emotional or physical. As I see it, a Christian seeking help for depression is no different than a Christian seeking help for pneumonia. 

You can find a lot of interesting and helpful sites online on this subject but please be careful. I chose to gather some of this information from the websites for the National Institute of Mental Health as well as Mayo Clinic’s website, both easy to Google.

If you, or someone you love, may be suffering from depression, seek help. Please. You may want to start with your primary care provider. They can evaluate if there is a physical reason for your symptoms such as an adverse reaction to medication or an underlying illness.  Your primary care provider should also be able to refer you to other specialists if needed.


Jesus is our reason for hope.  “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV) lets us know that Jesus wants us to be able to experience joy and fulfillment.  The bottom line is, we need to take care of ourselves and we need to watch out for each other.  Don’t dismiss feelings of despair in yourself or others. We all need help sometimes.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Signs

We are inundated by signs around us, aren't we? Sometimes we just don't even notice them any more. This one, however, caught my attention. I did not hang around there long!


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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rare Mindy Sighting

We have two ten year old cats who are rarely sighted by visitors. Mindy, in particular, is elusive. Sometimes days go by and I don't even see her.
Mindy actually has her own apartment! Our basement laundry room has an unfinished ceiling. She climbs up the furnace to enter her apartment. She does NOT like visitors and never invites me up. I try not to take it personally.
Now and then she does come visiting. She particularly loves Mike. Usually I do not get a chance to photograph her but she was quite the model the other night. Doesn't she look relaxed there, hanging out with her buddy?

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Golf Lessons

Mike loves to golf and sometimes after we have mall lunch, we find ourselves at Dick's Sporting Goods. The girls love it when Mike teaches them golf tips. Well, they also love showing him different ways to play the game.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

for KING & COUNTRY - an Insider Look

More about hearing For King and Country in concert this past week and a bit of an inside look at what goes into their songs...

Do you notice that there is a baby boy on the singer's shoulders?

At one point during the concert one of the brothers, Luke, told us of how sick he'd been a year before,
suffering from a digestive disorder. It was kind of hard to hear Luke speak of his digestive disorder. He told us that at one point his wife thought he might die. At 6'4" he'd lost down to 125 pounds! I, too, have a digestive disorder. Usually it is just discomfort and potential humiliation but in 2010 I had some complications and there was a night when I realized I had reached the point where my life was in danger. Luke spoke of his wife, nearing the end of her pregnancy, telling him he just couldn't leave her here. It made me think less about how I felt at that time and more about how hard it was on Mike and my family. I'll talk more about that some other time.

Anyway, after he told us about that he sang another song that I think will be coming out on their next album. At one point he went over to the side of the stage where his wife and baby boy were tucked out of sight. He picked up his son and finished the song with the little boy on his shoulders, looking quite comfortable to be there. It was not something I'd ever seen at a concert but knowing the story of how Luke had almost missed out on knowing that little guy... well, it was a tender moment.

I found this clip on YouTube and I thought you might enjoy it. This particular song was really moving to me and it was one they wrote during that hard year when Luke was so ill.


Now, please enjoy the full song.

I love the lines, "love like you're not scared, give when it's not fair..." Such good advice!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Shadows and Laughter

I still try to put something funny on my door at work each day.
I often have my door closed while I am on the phone.
Sometimes I see shadows of feet under the crack of
my door and then I hear
laughter.
I like that.


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Friday, August 15, 2014

Ancient Liturgy and For King and Country

Earlier this week Mike and I went to a funeral at a Catholic Church. We were all there to honor the mother of one of our friends. We aren't Catholics but we recognize a lot of the liturgy they speak and sing, as it is from Bible verses. We sing much of it at our church services as well, although often to different melodies.

There was a young woman there who sang several solos as well as led us all in the congregational singing. She had one of those voices, one that I wished came out of my mouth as well. It was just so beautiful! She sang with such reverence; I could close my eyes and imagine it was an angel singing. I could have listened to her sing all day. I hope she has children and I hope she sings them to sleep sometimes. Her voice was that relaxing.

Two days after that angel-singing-liturgy experience, I went to hear a concert with my friend, Nicole. We loved listening to For King and Country as well as Building 429! It was loud and stimulating. We stood, we clapped, we swayed, we bounced on the balls of our feet a bit. I could feel the drum beats vibrate through my chest.The grandstands were loaded with Christians singing their hearts out. It was really an uplifting experience.

So, did I enjoy the angel voice or the bands best? I couldn't say one way or the other, really. They were both quite rewarding. What they both reminded me of, though, was how very powerful music is. Music makes you FEEL something that spoken words can't quite do, at least for me. It must be true for many others as well.

The more I thought about the power of music and how it makes you feel, I felt even more convinced that we need to be proactive about the music to which we listen. I listen to music that isn't necessarily Christian music and I don't think that is wrong. However, I think it is important to me to often listen to uplifting, inspiring music if I want to live my life in an uplifting way.  I want to FEEL the music, to really absorb its meaning into my soul. That is why I want to be careful what kind of music I am absorbing. While I enjoy many different styles, I want to be careful what kind of content I let into my brain.

That is what I was thinking about today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Building 429: "Where I Belong" Official Music Video

Do you remember when I told you about my Life's Theme Song?

Well, by the time you read this I will be listening to this group, Building 429, singing it live! We will be having supper together and then they promise to sing it to me!

Can you believe that?

Really?

Hmmm...I didn't think you would be quite that gullible.

It is all true, in a sort of kind of way. I will be seeing them at the state fair and I will likely grab something to eat while there and I bet they will be eating while there as well (that's the supper together part.) Then, they will be singing to me and to all the other people who purchased tickets for their show.



I wish you could come along!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Found Myself!

I found myself when I was snooping through Mike's phone photos.
These are all from over a year ago, when we went to St. Louis.