Oh ... Really?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

When routine isn’t so routine

I finally got around to getting a complete physical exam last week, my first in several years, and lemme tell ya, there was nothing routine about it. I am still shaking my head in disbelief over what has happened. I see the hand of God at work, but in ways that I do not yet understand.

I went in with the primary objective of finding out why I gained a pile of weight and lose any of it in the last year and a half, despite a low calorie diet and regular exercise. My doctor had blood drawn and in addition to the regular lab tests, said she would check my thyroid and metabolic profile. Then after recalling that my last mammogram was suspicious but never followed up (I was laid off from my job about then, and just now have a job with medical insurance benefits), she ordered another one ... right away, that day. Then she did an EKG. After that, I got dressed and was about to go schedule the mammogram for later that day.

My doctor came back into the exam room. She was quite concerned about my EKG. She showed it to me, where the T waves were inverted or flattened (inverted in aVF and flattened in lead III, for those who know this stuff). From my training and experience as a paramedic, I knew this was not a good thing, and I recognized the abnormality myself. The most likely cause of this change or deviation is a prior anterior myocardial infarction ... that's fancy medical talk for heart attack.

Now imagine not only my shock, but utter disbelief. I already mentioned that I eat a low fat diet - which includes very little beef, even the lean stuff - and that I exercise regularly, but I also have always had low blood pressure - it was 98/72 that day, my resting heart rate is around 68 - 72, and the last time my cholesterol was checked it was 145. I have always enjoyed obnoxiously good health. Heart attack? Me? Surely not!

So then, in addition to the mammogram being scheduled for later that afternoon, I was also set up for a nuclear stress test two days later, an echo cardiogram two weeks later and several follow up visits. Oh, and a referral to a dermatologist for a suspicious freckle on my nose, but more on that later.

So, what does any self-respecting woman do after receiving this kind of news, and who then had two hours to kill before getting her boobies smashed? She goes shoe shopping ... that's what.

The stress test was excruciating ... I was so bored. And hungry, and thirsty. I had to be fasting for 4 hours prior to the test, with water only. And NO CAFFEINE! Auugghh! The technician placed an IV port in my arm and injected the radioactive solution. I sat for about 30 minutes while it circulated, then I laid on a table while my heart was digitally imaged. Yes, I snoozed. Then I was hooked up to the monitor leads, and a resting EKG was run, then I sat for another 30 minutes. I snoozed some more. Then the doctor came in and I got on the treadmill. After walking for about 5 minutes - more slowly than my normal pace - it was sped up to what is for me a brisk pace. When I attained the target heart rate, more radioactive solution was injected. I stopped and they measured how long it took for my heart rate and blood pressure to return to normal, which was not long. Years of regular exercise? Yep. But the doctor said that there were still some concerning changes in the rhythm, so I was ordered to avoid any kind of strenuous activity. Then I sat - and snoozed - some more, then it was back on the imaging table, where I took yet another nap. Then I was done. I left wondering, so when is the *stress* test?

So then the waiting began. This was Thursday, they said the results of the test would be back Monday or Tuesday. Of course, no news Monday, but on Tuesday I got a message while at work from Rich saying the doctor's office had called his cell phone and left a message for me to call. Apparently, they thought his cell was my daytime phone? But when I finally spoke to the nurse, all she had was the results of my blood tests - all normal, except a severe deficiency in Vitamin D, for which they want me to take a supplement plus a once a week prescription strength dose.

Remember that dermatologist referral? Consider that with the Vitamin D thing - you know, the sunshine vitamin? Ponder for a moment and hold that thought ... we shall return to this.

Towards the end of the day Wednesday, with still no call about the stress test results or the mammogram results either for that matter, I finally called the office and asked that someone check to see if they were in. I left work and went to choir practice at church. Of course, they called just as practice was starting, but I discovered later that they left a message for me on their lab line - a phone number that patients can call to get messages and test results.

So I listen to the message left for me - my stress test came back completely normal. No signs of ischemia, tissue damage or dysrhythmia, and all values were within normal limits.

After I picked my jaw up off my lap, and giving praise and thanks to the Lord Almighty, my first thought was, how in the stinkin' heck could this be? I saw the EKGs, I know what the rhythms mean and the possibilities. Remember, almost all my blood work was completely normal. Remember too that during the stress test I had EKG changes that concerned my doctor too. I was and remain baffled. They still want to do the echo cardiogram, but they don't think that I am in any immediate danger.

OK, I will go with that. No problem. I am sure God has a lesson or message for me in there somewhere, and now my prayer is that it be revealed to me.

I also got a letter about my mammogram - recall that it was concerning a few years ago - it too, is completely normal.

Oh yeah, that dermatology appointment. The doctor doesn't like the freckle on my nose. Even though she hasn't seen me in years, she swears that it is bigger now and looks bit scaly. Now, I am quite skeptical about this. I have been a very good girl over the years, and I have always worn makeup with sunscreen in it. I do not leave the house without at least some foundation on, and when at the beach or pool, I put additional sunscreen on not only my face, but my entire body.

Lemme tell ya how devoted I am to protecting my skin from the sun ... remember what the one abnormal blood test was? Yep, Vitamin D ... the sunshine vitamin. Go figure, right?

No wonder men, like my dear husband*, are scared to death of getting physical exams. This has been crazy! Oh, and that primary objective? I guess I am on my own there. My thyroid and metabolic profile are normal, and other than being curious about it, the doctor didn't have much to say about my inability to lose weight.

(*But he better man up and get his butt in there anyway, he is WAY overdue!)

Posted by LissaKay on 10/29/09 at 10:10 PM in ~ Personal
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 3 of the 40 Day Journey of Miracles

I love the Bible verse of the day - so often it is just perfect. Today's is Hebrews 10:35-36 - “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

The last 3 days I have been feeling very out of place (the story of my life, actually) and normally, I would take this to mean that I should set aside my doubts, fears and misgivings and forge ahead ... but then I wonder, do I really know what God's will is for me?

As I begin this journey into 40 days of prayer for miracles, I am feeling more and more under attack. I don't know that I have the strength to persevere.

Posted by LissaKay on 09/24/09 at 12:58 AM in ~ Christianity
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Do you believe in Miracles?

Many people do not believe in miracles anymore, or think they are the stuff of Biblical times and no longer relevant or even possible in our modern world. But miracles are indeed very real, very relevant and are happening everyday. When miracles happen, we have proof that God exists, and is moving in our world ... yes, even today. God today is the same God as He was thousands of years ago, and will be forever.

Today, our church kicked off a 40 day journey into miracles and intercessory prayer. As a church body, we will find and pray for people that need miracles. We will also study Biblical miracles and memorize scripture together. Pastor has also asked us to participate in a "Funny Fast" ... a fast in which we give up some small indulgence for this 40 day journey, one that may seem small to us, but is big in God's eyes. For instance, one person is giving up her Snickers bar snacks. Another is giving up playing Farmville on Facebook.

As I thought about what I was going to give up, I came upon a somewhat startling revelation ... I don't have any real indulgences in my life, not anything that is an everyday thing. Oh sure, I get pedicures ... but only about once a month, and I generally stop after the end of sandal season. Others, like snuggling with my cats - to give that up would also mean that the kitties would be neglected. I've been trying to watch my diet, so there isn't anything to give up there. Losing out on baked potato chips, artificially sweetened ice cream and diet pizza is no big loss. I've been too busy and/or tired to knit very much, it has been months since I made it to a yoga class, and I can't remember the last time I read a book purely for pleasure.

Man! This has GOT to change! And first I have convince myself that I do indeed deserve some pure pleasures in my life, that I NEED to play and have fun, and do things just for myself. I need to carve out time for yoga, knitting, reading, naps and long soaks in the bathtub. Like so many women, I have fallen into the rut of putting everyone and everything before my wishes, and even my needs.

Anyway, the one thing I do everyday is keep up with blog feeds, Facebook and Twitter. So, that's my "Funny Fast". I have pared Google Reader down to only news feeds and a few devotional, inspirational and Bible verse feeds. On Facebook, everyone is hidden except my husband, daughter, my pastors and a Bible verse posting. I have turned off all SMS Twitter notifications. If people need to get in touch with me, I will still be reading email and accepting texts and phone calls. I am not seeking isolation, just turning off the conversation. And honestly, it might do wonders for my disposition, not having to read the rants, snarls and endless political debate going on these days. I may find at the end of 40 days that I don't want to get back into it, that I enjoy the peace of mind.

In any case, the next 40 days will prove to be inspiring and amazing, seeing what happens when a church comes together like this to ask God for His divine intervention and the bringing of miracles. I am so excited to be part of a church that is this active and inspired. In addition to this, I am studying the Book of Esther with a fantastic group of women, singing in an awesome choir and making friends with some amazing Christian people.

As I ask God for these miracles for the people I will be praying for, I will keep in mind that God grants miracles in His time and in His way. That what I will see may not fit exactly with what I ask for, but will be granted perfectly by our perfect Lord.

So, do you believe in miracles? Are you in need of a miracle? Do you know someone that needs a miracle? Do you think that a miracle could happen for you? Let me know what you think ...

Come and see what our God has done,
what awesome miracles he performs for people!

Posted by LissaKay on 09/20/09 at 11:21 PM in ~ Christianity
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Defining oneself

The question that spans the ages ... Who am I?

Another blogger asked this question today, in terms of moving beyond labels and titles .. I pondered it briefly before answering the question for myself. It's simple, really ... but very complex, and pretty darn awesome.

I am a daughter, a sister, a mother and a wife. These are roles I fulfill. I am conservative and libertarian - I choose to uphold the principles, moral values and traditions upon which this country was founded, and must continue to adhere in order to thrive. But these roles and labels only apply to my worldly existence, and matter not one bit in the end.

14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

Throughout the New Testament, believers are told to live in the world, but not to be of it ...to not be a part of it. Our earthly realm is ruled by Satan, and this passage says that because we have given ourselves to Christ, we are not ruled by Satan, not slaves to sin, nor are we bound to earthly things. As we become more and more like Christ, we are less and less interested in the world around us. The less there is of *me* the more there is of Christ in me.

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

So, back to the original question, who am I? I am nobody. I am a worthless sinner. Nobody of any value at all. Ideally, the essence of *me* is gone, done and dead. There is a better way to live, a better life ... that is through Christ, and Christ through me. As He died for me, I die so He can live through me. I will conform my life, my thoughts, my deeds and my words to that of Christ, and it is not my face that I present to the world, but His. I will not take part in the sins of the world, but instead reject that for a holy and righteous existence, which is a gift to me from God. While I live in this world, but not of it, I must stand as a light to spiritual darkness, a beacon to those who would also be saved. And living in the world, I can enjoy the things of the world, God's beautiful creation, without immersing myself in it, taking pleasure from worldly things, not to satisfy myself but to give Glory to God who made it.

That brings me to the next question, what is my purpose here? What is the meaning of my life? Simple ... to worship, give praise and glory to God; to live in His Will, and to accept the awesome Gift He gave to us all ... the sacrifice of His one and only Son, who died so that we could be washed clean of our sins and enter into His Kingdom. All He asks of us in return is to give our lives over to Him.

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

If you have ever wondered what Christians are supposed to do, how to act and live, Romans 12 is a good place to start reading. Just start there and keep going. I recommend the book of Luke to start reading about the story of the life of Christ, then the other three gospels. There are lots of Bible resources online - I like Blue Letter Bible, Bible Gateway, Bible.Logos.com and the ESV Study Bible. If you want a Bible that you can hold in your hands and read, I will buy you one. A few hours of reading can completely change your life. A gift is being offered to you ... the gift of eternal life in the Kingdom of God, free of charge. All you have to do is accept it. How awesome is that? You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain ... so why not?

Upcoming posts:
Submit to thy husband?? Whaaaat??
What does God promise to us? (It's all in one little verse!)
... and something inspired by the Book of Esther (which I am studying now)

Posted by LissaKay on 09/18/09 at 12:19 AM in ~ Christianity
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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A healthcare nightmare

The topic of a boycott being organized against Totes, the company that brought us Isotoner gloves and slippers and a huge variety of bags and luggage, floated across my social media radar ... aka Twitter and Facebook. Apparently, the Totes company fired a woman for taking unauthorized breaks. The reason she was taking these unauthorized breaks was so she could pump her breastmilk for her baby. Being that I was at work, I didn't have much time to research all the details of the situation, but it would seem reasonable that taking unauthorized breaks could be a condition for discipline, up to and including termination. I do not know if the woman attempted to negotiate extra break time, and was refused, or if she just took the extra break time. I would hope that a company would allow for time for parenting obligations. With some give and take on both sides, an agreement can usually be reached.

In any case, the voices being raised on behalf of this mother who lost her job were pretty ardent. I am 1000% pro-breastfeeding, I nursed my three babies until they weaned themselves, did the La Leche League, family bed, attachment parenting and full-time mothering thing in full Birkenstock regalia. I am solidly for the rights of a mother to nurse her child. I am also very much pro-natural childbirth, especially after the C-section birth of my oldest, which led to my later VBAC with my second and home birth with my third. I understand the passion and the commitment to advocacy of our rights as mothers to birth and feed our children naturally.

So, when I came across this account of how some women are being forced to give birth in the hallways of the hospital, attended brusquely and even rudely by overworked nurses who don't seem to care, I wondered if these same women would protest this just as vociferously:
The lives of mothers and babies are being put at risk as births in locations ranging from lifts to toilets - even a caravan - went up 15 per cent last year to almost 4,000.

Health chiefs admit a lack of maternity beds is partly to blame for the crisis, with hundreds of women in labor being turned away from hospitals because they are full.
Latest figures show that over the past two years there were at least:
* 63 births in ambulances and 608 in transit to hospitals;
* 117 births in emergency departments, four in minor injury units and two in medical assessment areas;
* 115 births on other hospital wards and 36 in other unspecified areas including corridors;
* 399 in parts of maternity units other than labour beds, including postnatal and antenatal wards and reception areas.

Additionally, overstretched maternity units shut their doors to any more women in labor on 553 occasions last year.

That is just horrific! The mind boggles to think this is happening in hospitals in a country that is a leader in the civilized world!

But wait ... it gets worse!
The charity has disclosed a horrifying catalogue of elderly people left in pain, in soiled bed clothes, denied adequate food and drink, and suffering from repeatedly cancelled operations, missed diagnoses and dismissive staff.

It is reported that "up to 1,200 people died through failings in urgent care" out of "hundreds of thousands have suffered from poor standards of nursing, often with 'neglectful, demeaning, painful and sometimes downright cruel' treatment." The report finds that this appalling level of treatment of the most vulnerable citizens is not isolation to one hospital or region, it is widespread all across the country.

How can this happen in a civilized nation?! Further, who would participate in this kind of "care" willingly or even without protest?

The majority of the Totes boycotters, that's who ... mostly Democrat, mostly liberal and mostly in favor of ObamaCare, because we "deserve" national healthcare like they have in Great Britain!

Oh ... Really?

You really want this for yourself, do you? Well, if you want it so bad, move to England and enjoy. Leave us Americans with our free market, liberty and freedom to control our own lives.

Posted by LissaKay on 09/01/09 at 12:10 AM in
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wha .. ??

The comment policy here on my poor little neglected blog is posted above the comment entry form (unless you are a member of the site and are logged in). It's pretty simple ... no personal attacks, no trolls, no spam. I will delete at my own discretion. I used to moderate the comments, but I am not always near a computer where I can approve them so they post. I have to balance that with the risk of getting posts with spam comments. Most are annoying, some are offensive - I HATE that spammers are put their crap on the post about my father's recent passing, but every now and then ...

Where does this junk come from?

You can't make this stuff up ... seriously.

Gives Thanks, Very fascinating read, you should be dramatic of your web logs. I’ve been genuinely delighting developing up your situations from meter to time. Looking forward to understand your future positions Many wonderful selective information, thanks for partaking. Testament definitely be back more often….

Again, wha ... ???

Posted by LissaKay on 08/11/09 at 03:08 PM in ~ Blogging
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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Sitting in my father’s chair

It is late at night as I write this, the house is silent after a long day of running here and there, getting things done, sharing the latest of our family's news with friends and dear ones far and wide. But this is not my house, it is my parent's. I sit here in my father's chair, reflecting, praying and contemplating. He will never sit here again. July 31, 2009 marked the day of his passing, when God called him home. I am here to try to hold together the shattered pieces of my mother's life, so she will not have to be alone.

Everyone agrees that his death came as a blessing. He had been so sick, so weak and in so much pain - both physical and emotional, that knowing that he has been released from that brings us great comfort. That he is with his Lord, Jesus Christ is a joy to celebrate. The greatest tragedy is that he leaves behind my mother, who now faces her golden years alone.

So I sit here, in his recliner chair, trying to reconcile my emotions. All day long we have been busy, visiting the funeral home and cemetery, meeting with the pastor, making phone call after sad phone call. Mother and I didn't really have much time to dwell overly much on anything besides the practical matters. She is holding it together fairly well, her faith giving her a lot of grace to face this incredibly life-changing event. It never ceases to amaze me what a profound difference it makes when a person hands over their life to Christ. Though still maybe chaotic, out of control and filled with crisis, that grace sustains and carries us through.

Mother and I have even had moments of humor and laughter. Leave it to me to make inappropriate jokes, but if she is laughing, she is still living. Today, first at the mortuary, then at the cemetery, after going over the list of products and services necessary to hold a funeral, the sum total was presented to Mom. Let me tell you right now, folks, you would be very wise to purchase a separate term life insurance policy of at least $15,000 and mark it for end of life needs. Anyway, right after Mom paid the bill at the cemetery for the marker, burial service and related expenses (the plot was already paid for), the funeral counselor took her hand in both of his and very earnestly told he was so very sorry for her loss. When we got back to the car, I told Mom that would be a great slogan for a funeral home - "Your loss is our gain!" We giggled over that for a while.

Over the years, we giggled about a lot of silly things - and it drove Daddy nuts! Many times he would stomp out of the room, annoyed at the silly women in his house as we laughed until our sides hurt. The fact that he was annoyed because he didn't get our sense of humor just made us laugh even harder.

We almost broke out into one of those giggle fits while selecting Daddy's casket. I threatened to bury Mom in the one that was pink with lacy, frilly lining and an embroidered flower on the inside of the lid. She said, "You do and I will come back and haunt you!" I stuck my tongue out at her.

Mom is going to be OK. And Daddy is OK. Me, if I can survive this week, will recover.

I had some other thoughts, but they seem to have floated away. I should sleep, we have another long day tomorrow.

The service and burial is Wednesday, and the world resumes its regular spin on Thursday.

Posted by LissaKay on 08/04/09 at 01:19 AM in ~ Family
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Help me decorate my room!

Yes I have been sadly negligent in the upkeep of my site. So sue me. I've been busy taking care of aging parents, young adult children, a demanding but satisfying career, and a new husband ... not necessarily in that order. When not busy with all that, I have been gardening, redecorating, knitting and soon will be sewing on my new sewing machine.

One of my projects that is taking up a good bit of my time and energy is a room that I am redecorating. This is to be my own little space - for reading, meditating and prayer, Bible study, hobbies and whatever else I wish to do in solitude, peace and quiet. The lone window looks out across a lush, green yard with the Smoky Mountains in the distance. Three walls will be white, the fourth will be a dark lavender. Shelves and trim will be a leaf green. These colors are in the border wallpaper I will put up, which also has some pink and silver gray. The style of decor will be eclectic, a reflection of my personality and interests - some modern tech/geek, a little shabby chic, with a hint of garden and a lot of artsy craftsy. It will have my books and knick-knacks on Hungarian Shelves. These will be painted green and installed on the wall painted dark lavender. I will have my computer desk and a sewing/hobby table in there, and a futon or day-bed. I plan to have lots of quilts, knitted throws, and pillows. Very cozy and comforting.

I am trying to decide what to do with the door I will be installing. It is a 6-panel molded door that must be painted. The side facing the hall will be white, but I am wanting to do something creative and quirky with the inside ... using the lavender and green paint. I was thinking of painting the main part lavender, and the molded panel frames green. But I am still undecided. I am open to suggestions!

Posted by LissaKay on 07/29/09 at 01:14 AM in ~ Happy Crap ~ Home Life
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Pastor Wore Flip-flops

The churches I went to while growing up were very formal. Everyone wore their "Sunday Best" - men in jackets and ties, women in dresses, even little kids were dressed up with their faces scrubbed clean and shiny. The services were mostly serious, with all due pomp and circumstance. After each hymn or choir song, the only thing you could hear was rustling of the church bulletins, hymnals and Bibles, and the occasional cough - which would surely merit a scowl of disapproval at the one who dared to disturb the solemnity of the service. The mood lightened when services were over as the parishioners gathered in the lobby to meet, greet and mingle. But that is also where the infamous Church Ladies could be found, sharply addressing any and all shortcomings they found. (Oh yes, they were alive and well long before Dana Carvey made her a cultural icon!) Me, I'm a simple gal. I prefer to dress down and be comfy. High heels, panty hose and scratchy dresses are not my thing. If it is anywhere near warm enough, my feet are bare. God hears prayers no matter what you are wearing, which is a good thing since I do a lot of my praying in bed in my jammies, or in the shower where I am truly baring it all to the Lord. So, it is not surprising that I would find these churches to be uncomfortable, stifling and just simply places where I did not want to be.

I fell out of the habit of going to church many years ago. I was married to a man who did not wish to go, and not only discouraged me from going, but actually mocked my desire to do so. The children went with my parents on occasion, but he made such a fuss about my wanting to go, it was not worth fighting over. (Or so I thought) By the time we divorced, I had strayed far from the path of walking with my Lord that I almost forgot how ... or why, and the thought of church was far from my mind. Sleeping in was more important to me.

Fast forward through the years of chaos, crisis and my shaking my fist at God for giving me such a horrible existence to when I finally succumbed and gave my life over to Him. Rich and I are longing for a church home now. We have our small group where we study, worship and have fellowship with what we call our "God Family" and that has sufficed for a time, but now we feel the longing for even more than that. But we are very picky.

This weekend, we found THE church for us. It is about 10 miles out of the city, on a two lane road surrounded by horse farms, tucked in among the rolling hills in a sheltered valley. As we entered the parking lot, we first saw a somewhat unimpressive brown structure sitting in the middle of nowhere. It has the styling of a horse barn, painted brown with a reddish tin roof. Stretching out behind it, beyond the parking lot are acres and acres of green meadows, trees, and in the far off distance, a barn. A creek runs through the property, and at the far end, next to a picnic shelter is a cross made of raw tree trunks.

As we got out of the car, at the far end of the crowded lot, a man in a cart pulls up and offers us a ride. He is wearing a golf shirt, blue jeans and sneakers. On his shirt is the logo of a men's ministry group. We stopped at the entrance of the church, got our name badges and entered the building. Again, sparse and spartan, certainly not very "churchy" in this place. But it continues the theme of the ranch house, which persists into the sanctuary itself.

We found seats along with our friends and waited for the service to begin. There was no mistaking the start, it began with a drum flourish followed by riffs of electric guitar. The service began with a rocking, high energy song of praise that had the people up and out of their seats, raising hands to heaven, swaying and singing. When it was over, everyone was clapping and cheering. Now, the churches I grew up in, you never clapped during service and you most definitely did not cheer.

The minister then took the pulpit, Pastor Steve. He spoke a few words about what would be coming up in the service and then turned it back over to the band. We rocked out, praising the Lord, to several more songs. Pastor Steve came back and spoke for about 10 minutes. Half the time, we were laughing, the other half, we were thinking or saying, "Yes! Praise the Lord!" He has a gift of commanding attention and using it to get the message of the Bible across. I could have listened to him speak all night long.

Now given that this was a Friday evening service at the start of a conference that went through to the next day, being casual and dressed down is understandable. Same for Saturday - at an all day conference, one wants to be comfortable. But on Sunday?

We decided that we liked it there so much that we wanted to come for the regular Sunday services. I was a little unsure of what to wear - many churches these days have adopted a "come as you are" attitude, many of those use it as part of their marketing. This church said no such thing, not even on their web site. But I needn't have worried a bit, people came wearing all manner of outfit from Sunday best to sweat pants, to jeans and Ts. The "come as you are" is truly a part of the heart of this church and is not a marketing gimmick.

Sadly, too many churches have been resorting to this and other marketing gimmicks. Too many of them have strayed far away from being what a church is supposed to be. We hear about the "emergent" church or Church 2.0. These are churches that strive to appeal to everyone - believers and non-believers alike. The message of the Bible is watered down, pasteurized and PC-ified to be inoffensive and acceptable to as many people as possible, with the primary goal being to fill the pews with more butts and the wallets that come with them, the salvation the person attached is only secondary at best. As one person said, they want to view the Bible through the lens of popular culture, instead of viewing culture through the lens of the Bible.

The church has a duty to its flock to preach the truth ... the gospel truth of the Bible. It should never, ever "pull punches" for the sake of being inoffensive. Yes, God can be scary at times, overwhelming, and even terrifying. He is is also inspiring, comforting, uplifting. Most of all, he is loving and giving. He gave us the ultimate gift of all, the life of His Son. Any church that leaves out any part of the Bible should not call itself a church. Anyone that is seeking God, should run quickly away from such a church. Believers, defenders of the Cross, should point out these sham churches for all to hear and know.

And what I heard at the conference itself? Woo boy ... it would take a week of posts to share all that. But the one thing that stood out the most for me, the scariest thing I have heard in a long time ... well, read Revelation and take note of who all Christ battles against on earth when He returns. Do a bit of research and find out where those places are in the modern world, and then figure out the commonality between them. Then consider that in the light of recent events, here in America. Let me know if you want more of a hint than that.

Anyway, the conference was awesome, we had a blast. The church service the next day was fantastic. I felt right at home with this church, but unfortunately, it is located in Franklin, TN ... a bit far for making weekly visits, much less getting involved in all the other activities. But we intend to return at least occasionally. Mostly because of the pastor ... his jeans had a hole in the knee, and he wore flip-flops ... and his passionate devotion to the service and discipleship of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Pictures of Grace Chapel in Franklin, TN:
(and you can watch the weekly service streamed live on their web site! Or download it later!)



More on the conference later ... a couple of ex-Muslim terrorists were very interesting, compelling and at times, quite funny! And Chuck Missler is always fascinating. The talk by the guy from Wall Street was pretty cool too ...

Posted by LissaKay on 04/19/09 at 11:26 PM in ~ Christianity
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

So, we went to this little party

All across this great nation, patriots of all ages, colors, backgrounds, and yes, even political party affiliation ... we all came together to raise our voices as one, to send a message to the President and to Congress.

We love our country and the principles it was founded upon. Our founding fathers came to these shores to escape tyranny and a controlling government. They risked and many lost their lives to secure these freedoms for themselves and for future generations. Today, we face a new threat to our continued freedom and liberty. Yesterday, we sent a message that said we cannot allow such a threat to stand against ourselves and our children.

I was not able to be at the Tea Party in Knoxville for very long. I got there almost at the end of it, but I was still able to see for myself that I am not alone in hoping for a better future, not alone in being willing to do whatever is necessary for that better future. The grumbling that began during the Bush I administration over government spending is now becoming a roar of righteous indignation. We look at the numbers and we are horrified. How will we pay back these trillions of dollars being thrown away? Or more to the point, how will our children and grandchildren pay this huge bill being racked up? What this irresponsible and reckless government spending means for the future of this country is not pretty. It is very possible that our great-grandchildren will speak Mandarin Chinese as their native language ... if they are allowed to even be born, that is. When we are broke and bankrupt, and we surely will be in just a few years if things do not drastically turn around, it will be nations like China and India that will be paying off these "loans" the government is taking out.

And then there is the matter of what that money is being spent on. I do not work so I can pay other people's mortgage. I do not work so I can pay for their health care. I do not work so that I can rescue banks, auto companies and investment firms that acted irresponsibly. I work to support myself and my family. Of my own free will, I give to charities that help the less fortunate. I chafe at being forced to give to the less responsible.

There is a difference, you know.

So, I joined 2500 others with my husband and we sent a message to Washington (yes, even though the dufus president is too dumb to even know what was happening all across the country). We don't like this one little bit, and we aim to take our country back. These are people that understand finance and economics, and what it means to be fiscally responsible. These bail-outs and ginormous spending bills are not fiscally responsible at all.

Yet, there remains a contingent of Obama fans that cling to his every move and actually believe whatever he does is golden. Wrong. I laugh at the ignorant people that look at the extra $12 - 15 in their paycheck and think, Wow! A tax cut! Wrong again ... it is a reduction in withholding. It is still tax money that must be paid at tax time. To make it simple ... think of your last tax refund. Now subtract $400. That is about what you will get next year. Is it a negative number? Oh, then you will owe the IRS that much! It is not a tax cut, rebate or credit. You have been duped if you think it is. The ignorance I see regarding these spending bills and the country's economy is simply astounding.

The hate and violent imagery being flung by the leftists is, sadly, not so surprising. One commenter on a blog actually wished that I would be essentially raped. The blog owner, someone I used to consider a friend, thought it was funny. I wonder if he would think it so funny if someone were to say the same thing about his wife, only making the attacking party to be Rush Limbaugh. The person that left the vulgar comment then went on to attack me personally because I am a Christian ... not the points I made or anything I said at all, which was a reasoned and polite refutation of the blog post, but a personal attack against me because of my faith and beliefs. Then she(?) had the audacity to try to say she is a fine, upstanding, moral person who is tolerant of all, and not a bit hateful.

Oh ... REALLY?

This is what I have come to expect from leftists, and sadly, it appears that it is just going to get worse in the coming years. That's fine. Bring it. I really do not care what they think of me, or say about me. I pity their poor, empty souls.

But anyway, at the Tea Party, we had fun. Unlike the anti-war or pro-abortion or anti-Bush/GOP protests we have seen over the years, there was very little negativity at the Tea Parties. Reports from all cities all said that people were out, with their friends and families, enjoying the company of many others that share their love of country and pride of nation. All I saw was smiles. I heard laughing, watched children playing. Yes, people were passionate about their views at times, but it was not the anger, the rage, that is seen at Code Pink rallies and the like.

I watch with amusement at some leftists and the media as they try to portray these Tea Parties as something they were not. They attack us viciously and violently. Melissa Clouthier made a great comparison: Tea bag Envy and the Left's Lack of Imagination . And somewhere I saw it suggested that the next round of Tea Parties include the Main Stream Media as targets of protest. After the egregious behavior of one CNN reporter, I cannot agree more - it's time to push back. When reporters stop reporting the news and do nothing more than make it their own biased perspective, they have lost their claim to the right of freedom of the press.

It is time ... way past time ... to take back our country. This is only the beginning.

God Bless America!
Posted by LissaKay on 04/16/09 at 08:50 PM in ~ Neat Stuff
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