Category Archives: God

Stiff-Necked

Just Juli, self-portrait. May, 2010 (courtesy of necksolutions.com)

As I sit here recovering (still!) from my whiplash, I am reminded of a phrase that I read in the Bible referring to the Israelites as “a stiff-necked people“.   When I looked up this passage, I was surprised to find that this description is found 7 times in the scriptures.

If God says something once, it has meaning.  Twice – you should take more notice of it.  But seven times?  He is really trying to get your attention!

That’s me.  And not just right now when I am working just to get my head to comfortably face forward.  (And, oh! To dream of being able to look to my left! Or up! Or down!!)

I am stubborn.  I can be hard hearted, and slow to change my ways.  I am guilty of sometimes falling into bad habits of apathy and laziness.  Even though my heart has been broken for so many marginalized people.  Why is it that I spend more time on facebook than keeping up with world events?  The ignorance of the masses is what keeps the cycle of evil in the world continually spinning.

Edmund Burke is oft misquoted as saying

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”

Burke’s actual statement from his ‘Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents’ reads:

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitited sacrifice in a contemptible struggle”

Today I am pondering why it is that I can so often get stuck in a cycle of selfishness and be so myopic in my worldview.

More importantly: What steps can I take to become more of an active participant in this world?  What do I need to do to look beyond myself and meet the needs of others?  How do I “soften my neck”?


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I can almost look up…

… After an emergency visit to the chiropractor today, plus a second adjustment this evening.  ugh.  This was my first visit to the chiropractor in almost 2 decades.

I have been so tightly locked up with my right shoulder to my right ear – and my head turned to look over my right shoulder.  It started out as a kink in my neck on Saturday, and has progressively gotten worse each morning since.   Today I spent half the day nearly in tears.

I was able to get into the doctor’s office this afternoon – maybe partly because my dad was their first patient, and has been loyal to the practice for going on 25 years.  I went there a few times as well in my early teens – but it’s been a looooong time since then!   Since it has been so long, I was expecting Dr Buller to be on the elderly range of the age spectrum.  Ooops!  It’s funny how the young mind sees anyone over 25 as “old”.  I was shocked to find that the doctor is a few years younger than my dad.

I had between 0 and 5 degrees of motion in many areas.  No duh.  And the x-rays showed a lot of serious misalignments – so much that I could even see them without the doctor pointing them out.   I went through my first adjustment and was sent home to ice the area a few times before I came back in at the end of the day.  The difference was almost immediate.   And was even better after the second one.

– I also had my church group pray for me tonight and saw a noticeable relaxation in my neck/shoulder muscles after that as well.  I want to give props not only to the excellent chiropractic care of Dr. Jeffrey Buller, but also to the healing power of Jesus.  Not everyone believes in that, but I do.

I still can’t tilt my head forward much to look down.  But maybe that’s a good thing.  I should be looking up more often anyways!

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I’m with Coco

I got a chance to watch Conan’s last taping of The Tonight Show over the weekend.  And, while it was funny, the best part were his words at the end.  He challenged people to avoid cynicism, as it is ineffective and pointless.  He capped it off with this:

Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

The hardest obstacle to overcoming cynicism lies in tackling your own heart.  That dark place where you hide your fears, your warts, your anger.  To excise those negative, life-sucking areas is humbling, hard work.  But the rewards are amazing.  It’s not about changing people, but about changing how you see people.

Or situations.

Right now it is 5 degrees here in MI with the windchill factor.  And I lost my job of 11 years last Friday afternoon.  The only job I’ve ever had.  The urge to give in to cynicism and anger is almost irresistible.

But..

But the sun is shining, and it’s so cheerful.  And I have amazing friends who have reached out to me with a word of kindness or encouragement.  And I know that God is with me through this as well.

And, I’m Happy.

Really Happy.   In spite of it all.  I know there’s a tough road ahead of me in the MI economy.  But I’m okay.  I’m healthy.  I’m loved, and I get to love people back.  And there is coffee and chocolate in the world, so life is good.

I feel a new bond with Conan as we both lost our jobs on the same day.  I mean, really, we’re practically kindred spirits now.  Blood-siblings (except with out the gross blood part – unless you count the blood-sucking “Man” that did us both in!)  So, call me Coco!  We’ll chat and compare networking strategies and next steps. 🙂

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Filed under Friends, God, pays the rent, this random life

Heartbreak

I know I’m behind the curve on this one.  By now, so many people have written about the disaster that is Haiti right now.   I’m reminded of the Asian tsunami in 2004 and, to some extent, Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  There are many wonderful agencies who are working to serve the people of Haiti.  I haven’t decided which route I’m going to take in supporting relief efforts, but it’s nice to have a choice.

This was a terrible disaster, and my heart breaks for all those involved – both the residents of Haiti and their worried loved ones around the globe.  One bright light in this dark valley is the outpouring of compassion from people all over.  Not only in my small church praying for all involved – and looking for the best way to support efforts – but also around the interwebs.  Everywhere you look people are offering information on how to get involved, and are sharing their shock, hurt, worries with one another.

Sometimes the internet can feel so impersonal, and then something like this happens and you realize that it’s possible for it to become a community; a family that looks out for each other and cares about one another.
If you are so inclined – would you please join me in praying for both the people of Haiti as well as their worried loved ones around the globe?  My prayer is for safety and for healing of their bodies and their hearts.  That this would be an opportunity for people to join together in a spirit of unity and compassion.  That God would surround them with a sense of His peace and the presence of His love.  The enemy would like nothing more than to bring division, fear, hatred and jealousy to that nation.  My fervent prayer is that his plans to do harm would come to nought.

And please, if you have the means, get involved in the healing process.

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.   James 2:15-17

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Unplugged

I’ve been feeling a major disconnect the last few months. Now that the winter is over – and the sun is finally blessing us with it’s presence – I’m hoping that this feeling will ebb away.

But it’s not just the weather.  I feel like I’ve been so busy with all sorts of activities – but not really plugged in.  I’m around people, but all alone.  And I’ve been completely unable to find time, and more importantly, the words to share on this site for close to 1/2 a year.

I realize that I’m in a stage of “pruning” in my life.  God is really cutting things out that I don’t need.  And even things that are good.  Many of my friends are moving on to new stages in their lives.  Beth – my constant companion – has moved to Venezuela for 3 years.  Melissa leaves this weekend for 6 months in Vermont and Colorado.  Kelly, my best friend for over 20 years just got engaged, and therefore won’t be moving back in the area like she had planned.  Kathrin just got engaged as well.

And for those of my good friends who might be more available (and on the same continent) – our schedules just haven’t fit.  I’ve also been spending a lot of time lately with family in town (or going out of town to see them.)  When I emerge back into my social sphere – I feel more than a little out of the loop.  I find that I’m spending more time alone then I have in a long time, and it’s a hard adjustment.

On a plus side, I’m getting some things done around my new house.  Not any big changes yet, but baby steps each week.  I now have a guest bed room.  And some flowers.  I think painting some of the all-white walls is next.

And, hopefully, some updating on this site as well.  I miss the time I spent flexing a little creative muscle, and visiting my online friends.

Here’s to Spring – a season of new beginnings.

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McDonald’s Myrrh Milkshakes

‘Tis the season to be jolly – and to enjoy a McDonald’s Egg Nog milkshake.  I rarely go to McD’s – but I love the Shamrock shake and the Egg Nog one too.   However, I’m not a big fan of the new “Triple Thick” recipe.  I like mine “Single Thick” thank you very much.  I just have to work too hard to get the new one into my mouth. 

 

Let’s get something straight, here:  I ain’t drinking these things for the excersise.  If you know me – my mouth gets enough excersising with all of the talking and wild facial gestures I make each day.  Sometimes I just want to relax and enjoy some egg nog goodness.  And, oh boy, is it good!

I had an online fun conversation with my facebook friends yesterday on the subject. Here’s what went down with E’s status update yesterday afternoon:

EP: E thinks Jesus must be proud of egg nog ice cream being associated with his birth.

SL: Wasn’t Jesus born in the summer? Eggnog ice cream makes all kinds of sense.

Me: I like to think that Jesus is a big fan of ice cream, personally.

EP: that’s what I’m saying… I’d be proud to have eggnog ice cream associated with my birth.  If there was a fourth wise man, I’m sure he would have brought some.  I’m kind of assuming a lot here, though.

Me: The only reason they didn’t bring it was because they didnt’ have a cooler.  So they substituted with myrrh.

SL: Or maybe myrrh is just a fancy pants bible word for ice cream.  I don’t know you, julianne, but i appreciate your theology.

 

The moral here is Triple-Thick, Single-Thick or what-have-you… I hope you have a chance to enjoy one of the simple pleasures of the holiday season. 🙂

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Filed under God, Things I heart, this random life

Sticky Post – Kenya Dig it?

This is a sticky post that will stay at the top of the page from 10/4 until 10/19.  Please scroll down for daily posts about the 2008 Kenya Medical Mission Team.

I’m going to be AWOL for a short while – so I am apologizing up front for not responding to your comments, or for commenting on my regular blogs that I read.  🙂  But I have set up this site to post daily updates while I am gone.  Each day will bring a new post with that days’s scheduled events and prayer requests.

The center of our ministry area is in Kapenguria, Kenya, where Pokot Outreach Missions has a medical clinic and is building a hospital and a church.  Word on the street is that we will be spending most of our time around Mt Elgon on the Kenya-Uganda border this year.  We will be serving the people of the Pokot tribe by hosting clinics where they can receive free medical care, wound cleaning, and receive medicine.  The Pokot tribe is located in the NW area of Kenya and numbers nearly one million. They are primarily herders and keep sheep, cows, goats and – sometimes – camels.

They recently had a 7 year drought and malnurishment is rampant in that area.  Last year was a good year, with plenty of rain – enabling the Pokot to produce their best crops in nearly a decade.  That all changed this last year, though.  It started with the civil war in S Kenya following last year’s Presidential election in December.  The fighting drove up the cost of transporting food, fuel and goods.  Then there was the weather: a dry spring, followed by heavy storms that flooded what little crops they had.  It has been a debilitating year for this isolated people.

Only 1 in 5 Pokot children survive to reach age 5.

Let that sink in for a minute.  Malnurishment, parasitic disease, burns and malaria are some of the biggest causes for childhood mortality.  It’s so bad that mothers will typically have older children care for the youngest children after they have stopped nursing.  This is so that the parents don’t become too attached to their children.  This is a common site everywhere we went last year:

Children caring for their younger siblings. Isnt this girl beautiful?  This picture has haunted me for the last year..

Typical sight: Children caring for their younger siblings. Isn't this girl beautiful? This picture has haunted me for the last year..

So, check back for daily updates on what we will be doing.  And if you want more information on Pokot Outreach Mission, check out the website of their US counterpart: Harvester’s International Missions: www.him-usa.org

Now – I’m off to finish my last cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and double check my packed luggage before heading off to the airport.  See you on the 19th!

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