Bible Verse

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense. Proverbs 2:3

Friday, May 30, 2014

Walk This Way

I’ve been pretty quiet on the internet these past 2 weeks, and there’s a reason for that:  My back went out on me.

This is the first time I’ve had a back problem in 15 years.  The rest of me is falling apart piece by piece, but my back has not complained very much.

And the craziest part is that I just woke up with it.  Went to bed the night before without it, got up the next morning with it.

It takes a special talent to hurt yourself while you sleep.

At first, the pain was horrible.  I couldn’t stand up straight or walk very well.  I looked like I was in the middle of a pathetic impression of Groucho Marx.   I tried to get around with the help of my dad’s cane, but I finally had to go to the doctor.  I was worn out. 

I had an x-ray taken at the doctor’s office, but nothing abnormal showed up.  So the next step was an MRI the following afternoon.

I’ve had MRI’s before, but it’s been awhile.  This was not an open MRI.  It was the old style where they shove you into a tube and throw very loud noises at you.  So I knew what to expect. 

I climbed up onto the skinny table, which was hard because my right leg refused to move more than 2 inches upwards.  It would move all the way sideways all on its own because I couldn’t control it.

Picture this (if you dare):  Big old me trying to get in position to lay on my back with a rogue leg and hardly any table to work with.  After a brief and slightly embarrassing struggle (who wants to admit they can’t control a leg that they’ve had for 62 years), the MRI lady helped situate my body correctly and then told me to lay with both legs stretched out and to use the ear plugs she had given me.

My right leg was already killing me so I wasn’t sure how long I could lay with it all stretched out.  As she shoved me into the tube, I asked how long this was going to take.  About 15 minutes and she needed me to lay as still as I could.

Oh, Lord!  15 minutes with this burning pain shooting down my thigh! That thought temporarily got my mind off my growing claustrophobia.

So as she puts me into the tube, I’m thinking that it’s not too bad in there.  The skinny table stopped about that time.  Piece of cake, I told myself.

Then the skinny table moved, further and further into the tube.  And I started to panic.  As I get older, I notice that closed spaces bother me.  And that tube was the mother of all closed spaces.

I immediately started a running conversation in my mind in an attempt to control my anxiety. 

“You could holler and move, and that lady would roll you right out of here, so technically you aren’t stuck inside this thing.”

“You’ll be out of here very soon.”

“You don’t want to have to do it again because you moved, do you?”

That last one was my real motivator.  I HAD to be still.

But the pain in my leg was growing worse.  My energy was sapped from trying not to panic.  I felt defeated by this hurting that had taken over my life for the past week.

It was then that my soul called out to Jesus.  I sang the song that says, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there’s just something about that name.”  I sang it over and over.

As it turns out, the “something about that name” is peace and grace and mercy.  My pain lessened to a degree I could handle, and my panic slowly subsided.

People talk about how big God is, how He covers anything and everything.  But I found Him to be small enough to be right there with me in that tube.  Just me and Jesus.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blind Descent -- My Review

Author Brian Dickinson served with the US Navy as a Rescue Swimmer, and it shows in this true account of his attempt to conquer Mount Everest.  A well-experienced climber, he has been a part of expeditions on the highest peaks of the seven continents.  But even with all his experience, strength and faith, he almost didn’t make it down from Everest, the highest peak in the world.

Dickinson takes us through the meticulous planning for a climb such as this.  Every detail must be correctly dealt with, because each one could literally mean life or death.  He introduces us to the Sherpa, the indigenous people who regularly guide and/or carry gear for the climbers.  Every ounce of equipment, food and clothes is counted to keep the packs at 50 pounds each.

But the biggest point of concern for the author was his family – wife Joanna, daughter Emily, and son Jordan.  The thought of getting back to them safely dominated his thoughts constantly.  At one point, he even used their names as a chant as he slowly made his way on the ice and snow.

It is obvious that Dickinson did, indeed, make it down from Mount Everest because he wrote this book.  But it’s still a compelling read.  At the end of each page, you’ll want to keep going to see how he did it.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book..

Friday, May 16, 2014

What’s the Deal With Websites?

I spend a good deal of time on the internet.  I visit websites and blogs to read and research.  I know what makes a great website great.  And I know when the wrong people have been left in charge of the store.

How can a huge, national company have such an idiotic web presence?  I know I’m not the most savvy person when it comes to the internet, but I can usually maneuver around pretty well if things are marked clearly.

I was on a website this morning run by an enormous communications company that was horrible!  I could build a better site, and I’m a rank amateur at such things.

I was trying to find certain information that related to my account.  It should have been clearly marked, but it was not.  I rattled around from page to page, getting more confused and frustrated with every click.  What should have been easily accessed took me at least 5 minutes to find, an eternity in internet time.

And when I finally clicked on it, the silly thing churned and churned, the little circle going around and around for about 30 seconds (again, a long wait in internet time), the words “Please Standby” appeared, and then an announcement that an error had occurred.  It invited me to try again later.

I don’t want to try again later.  It’s my account.  I want to see it now.  I may never remember to visit this site again, even though it has information that I need.

Am I the only one who sits down at the computer and then goes blank about all those things I had thought about since I last logged on?  Out of desperation, if I have enough sense at the moment I think of something I want to look at, I e-mail myself a reminder.  Back in the days of real telephones and answering machines, I would call myself and leave myself a message.

Times sure have changed.  Now I’m up against a website that clearly was designed by a 6-year-old.  It was not designed by someone who actually uses the site, that’s for sure.

This is not the first time I’ve had trouble navigating on this website, and if I continue to use their services, it won’t be the last.

And passwords – don’t get me started!  This site has at least two different sections that each require their own password and secret question.  Oh, come on, now.  Do you really expect me to remember two words per section?  Hahahahahaha!

I’m sure the folks that designed this mess are good people who truly want their site to be user friendly.  And that’s the problem – they aren’t the ones who use it.  We are.  We are the ones trying to figure out what these super knowledgeable folks have put on the page.

I think they should hire me as a consultant to show them what works and what doesn’t.  

Carol Weeks, Consultant. Has a nice ring, don’t you think?

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense. Proverbs 2:3

Sunday, May 11, 2014

30 Days to a More Beautiful You

I want to share my thoughts with you about a book I just read.

The message in Kylie Bisutti’s 30 Days to a More Beautiful You is  -- well, beautiful!  It is aimed at pre-teen and teen-aged girls at just the right moment in their lives when they are trying to discover what life is all about and how they fit into it. 

Bisutti’s credentials as a former Victoria’s Secret Runway Angel certainly qualify her to speak to what the world wants.  Through these short devotions, she has been quite candid about her life before and after her modeling career.  Her use of scripture and her own experiences point out God’s unconditional love.  

Our teen-agers are faced with so many choices each day.  This devotional simply and gently shows what God wants all of us to do – glorify Him.

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Naughty or Nice?

Have you ever looked for an item that you know exists, but you can’t find?  I wanted a bulletin board, an old-fashioned cork board, for my den.  Wal-Mart didn’t have them, CVS didn’t have them, Target didn’t have them.  I found cork squares at Target, so I settled for them.  I know I could have found one on line, but my mind goes blank every time I sit down at the computer.  What was it I was going to look for, I ask myself.  Myself has nothing to offer.

But it was girlie week, and I was with my daughter Alice, which was a good thing.  So I just bought the squares and threw them into the back of my car.  I knew I’d eventually discover them under all that stuff back there (including an open 40-pound bag of sunflower seeds for the birds) and tack them to the walls of my den.

Alice was sick during most of our girlie week.  It started out as a cough and feeling run down and just multiplied each day until she felt really bad.

So I, being the mother and all, decided that I would take her to a doc in the box.  There’s a new one in town that advertises little to no waiting.  Just what we needed.

We got there 30 minutes before they closed.  There was one guy ahead of us in line at the counter, filling out forms.

After a few minutes, Alice had her turn at the counter and then sat down to fill out all that paperwork where they ask you really nosy questions.  Before she got through, though, the nurse came to get her.  She invited me to go with her.  I’m glad she did.

The nurse was very pleasant as she took Alice’s vital signs and wrote down her symptoms.  She left, saying the doctor would be in shortly.

Well, he wasn’t.  We waited and waited and waited.  And the longer we waited, the madder we got.  We said mean things about the doc and the box and the staff and the medical world in general.  I held forth on how an office should be run.

Alice has always been able to cough deep enough and loud enough to sound like a seal at Sea World in Orlando.  In fact, they can probably hear her in Orlando.  Seeing as how one of her symptoms was coughing, I asked her if she could cough that dreadful-sounding cough of hers so maybe the doctor would come rushing in to help her.  So she did.  Over and over and over. 

Nothing.  Not even a sound outside the door.  Alice was sure we had been forgotten.  I had just started a lecture on the unfairness of life when I saw it – the most perfect looking bulletin board I have ever seen.  The right size, the right frame, the right color.  I was stunned into silence.  To add insult to injury, they had my bulletin board!

If I had been wearing a coat, I would have smuggled it out.

So now we’re really aggravated.  I couldn’t help grieving over that bulletin board, that wonderful one-piece bulletin board.  And what did I have?  A bulletin board that had been torn into 4 pathetic cork pieces.

The nurse finally came in and apologized for the wait.  She said the doctor had been with another patient, but he appeared to be finishing up and would be coming in shortly.

About 10 minutes later (10 more minutes to think up all kinds of snide, sarcastic remarks to lay on him), the doctor walked in the room.

Alice and I both froze, our mouths open.  

It was Santa Clause!  The doctor looked exactly like Santa Clause!  He had beautiful white, curly hair, and a beautiful white beard.  He wasn’t as rotund as Santa, but he had very kind eyes.

Alice and I looked at each other, knowing what we had to do. 

Which was nothing, because how can you be mad at Santa Clause?

The implications of this situation were not lost on us.  If we complained, would we land on his naughty list and get coal in our stockings come next Christmas?  Would he frown at us?  I don’t think I could take Santa scowling at me.

As the doctor examined Alice, asking questions, probing here and there, we were in awe.  This was the closest we’d been to Santa since Alice sat on his knee nearly 30 years ago.

He concluded his exam and told Alice what he thought the treatment should be.  She agreed, of course, because, as the whole world knows, Santa can’t hurt you!

Unless he puts you on his naughty list concerning a certain bulletin board that came up missing…

Friday, May 2, 2014

It's Girlie Week

(Carol) All I really wanted to do was take my daughter Alice to see Monet’s Water Lilies in Atlanta for her birthday.  We didn’t realize it at the time, but we were starting an annual tradition of a mother-daughter “girlie week.”

(Alice) It has become a retreat for me because I have a high-stress job, two children and a husband to take care of.  I love my home life; but I also need balance and so our girlie week is my balance. It’s fun to plan the trips and sometimes it takes me months to narrow down the possibilities enough to show Mom.

(Carol) Because of Alice’s travel agent talents, we’ve been on 2 cruises to Cozumel, 2 trips to Tunica, MS, and this year we ended up at Lake Guntersville State Park Campground in the condo-camper.  Even though we’re just 20 miles from my house, it’s still far enough away to be a perfect girlie week.

(Alice)  No matter where we go, I always find balance.  We explore and talk and laugh and laugh and laugh.  We find fun places to eat or sample wine.  We even ate at a restaurant that was a 1950’s beauty shop!  Don’t you think that was a hoot?  But my favorite thing is our late-night talks, just like when I was a teenager.

(Carol)  Alice and I have always been close.  When I asked Alice to go to Atlanta that first year, all I really wanted was to be with her and have her undivided attention.  By that time, she was married and hadn’t had my two beautiful grandsons yet.  But with her job and my job and this and that, we had sort of lost track of where our relationship was.  I think I was trying to reconnect, although I wasn’t aware of it at the time.

(Alice) Six years ago, my life had become a go-go-go world.  When my mother asked me to take a weekend trip that first year, I jumped at the chance to spend the time with her because my job and my husband had taken most of my time and my relationship with my mother wasn’t what it had been when I was younger.

(Carol) I know that this is a priceless gift.  During girlie week, when we get lost trying to find the hotel or get the giggles at inappropriate times, it feels like a little glimpse of Heaven.  It feels like God’s love for us.

(Alice)  In my crazy and wonderful world, I have always taken comfort in my mother.  So the girlie week has become my week to reconnect with the solace that I find in her, along with expanding our relationship.  During this time that I’m with my mother on these trips, there’s always a God Moment - that sacred moment when we know that we are His children, too.

(Carol and Alice) It’s not important where we go, it’s that we go together.  Thank God (and we mean that literally) for our girlie week.