Philosophical Pneumonia

Nothing to do but philosophize

How best do you grab time that is slipping away? You write about it!

January is slipping by. The last few years we have, sadly, hit our medical deductible by January one year and February the year before. My very brave new years resolution was not needing a doctor at all in January.

So the resolution made on New Year’s Eve dawned the next day to a cold. I have had lung surgery and lung obstructions, so this was not good news, but I am doing better, so I soldiered through for a week. Then it got worse. I ended up in urgent care with bronchitis, super -duper antibiotic that always work, and nasty cough syrup. I went to the pharmacy, and $400 later went home. (Apparently you have to pay to breathe.) I did better quickly and at the week mark again got much worse. Back to urgent care. This time it was pneumonia with the doctor shaking his head. He had never seen the antibiotic not work. So then I was put on two antibiotics and even worse cough syrup. Then I was told to go to my regular dr during the week, which added steroids for breathing and another round of antibiotics when the others were finished.

I have been sick thee entire month of January, have paid hundreds of dr bills and prescriptions, and have missed enough church that I will have to visit the visitor’s VIP desk and get a free t-shirt.

After looking at my few options of redeeming the time, I realized that there really weren’t any. And this is when I started getting philosophical…

  1. Life is Like Pneumonia: Just when you start thinking everything is good, you let your guard down. Then life comes in like a flood. Never let your umbrella be far.
  2. No matter what anyone says, prescription prices are just a fancy way of taxing the people without an uproar. The people will pay whatever because they need to breathe to live.
  3. Doctors are not omniscient. My dr shook his head at the antibiotic not working and said, “Well, doctoring is called practicing…”. That didn’t make me feel any better.
  4. People who have never had pneumonia think of it as a bad cold. After walking up and down a flight of stairs, I was wheezing and gasping for air. I was asked why I was out of breath….????
  5. Just because you have lung issues does not mean you deserve a lecture on how to stop smoking. (If I had a million dollars for every time I have been given that lecture over the last five years.)
  6. If you can get energy out of Niagara Falls just by the water going down, you could harness energy out of pneumonic coughs.
  7. If children get stickers for shots, why don’t adults get expresso?
  8. No matter how much your children claim you love them, they are not willing to get within 10 feet of you just because you are sick. (Seriously, if they were going to catch it, it would have been by now.)
  9. Buy stock in Kleenex. Seriously, think about it!
  10. Pneumonia gives you more freedom as a writer. You are so miserable, you just don’t care if what you say hurts people’s feelings.

So there are some good truths and ideas to chew on. Do you have any?

When Appliances Hang Me Out to Dry

And now it’s the dryer!

Today it was the Lowe’s truck backing in with the new dryer. Before that it was the new water softener. Then it was the furnace (cringe). And in successive order: garage door motor, shingles for the roof, newer to us car, then another new to us car, refrigerator (shudder, shudder), computer, cell phone…  And all this is in the last year alone!

Okay, at some level this has to stop, right?  When our dryer started it’s slow, agonizing, screeching pain of death, it didn’t even phase me anymore. I think after having to get the entire roof replaced after our incredible Indiana storm where the world looked like there had been a blizzard of ice with drifts and everything, I became just plain traumatized and emotiona-less.

I will save you all the gory details of the poor, dying dryer. But I couldn’t even feel any sympathy. It gave it’s all working without complaint (mostly) for it’s three to five daily loads. My husband and I went to Lowe’s and as it was pre-pre-black Friday, they were out of many dryers. So I told the kind man that was straining to see any remorse or panic on my end, that I knew what I wanted. It was simple, really. I wanted a dryer, it had to be in stock, American made, would dry my clothes without screaming at me, and had a no-wrinkle cycle. No, I didn’t want the washing machine (seriously, I should have just showed him our house costs in the last year). I never understood why you have to buy a washer and dryer at the same time. All the poor man could get out before my husband calmed him down was that if you want a steam option, the accessories only worked with the compatible dryer ( and believe it or not, they are never compatible with other washer/dryer pairs). It took him showing us a few models that would not be available for two weeks (seriously, this guy had issues) before he finally got it. Soon it was paid for, delivered, and the old one unceremoniously dispatched.

I think my family is in appliance trauma, too. It wasn’t too many years ago that we had to replace our vaccuum sweeper with a new one. Our kids literally fell into heaps of grief (cue Job’s ash pile). We had to get a new van and they fell to pieces. When the new dryer came in this morning, my homeschooling daughter didn’t even stir from her class to go and at least look at the new dryer.

Happily, my tale ends with a few thoughts. They are in random and chaotic order, I don’t know why. But here it goes:

  • appliances come and appliances go
  • never name your appliance (sending “Fred” to the great junkyard in the sky makes it just that much harder)
  • it’s the glass half full or half empty; I get all new appliances, won’t need any of the already replace ones again for a while OR whoa, this is costing a lot of money
  • when people at Lowe’s and general contractors know you by name, it’s time to pray for a financial miracle
  • when you are having a wonderful conversation with your spouse, don’t mention the stove…
  • there is a difference in buying the smaller items (ie. bathroom fans) and getting them installed
  • Pray that your son franchises a Lowe’s
  • get a second job

A Tactical Homeschooling Error

Now that I have time to look back and evaluate my homeschooling strategy a little, I see a big mistake in my strategy: my kids are using what they learned against me!

My very godly goal was to equip them in all areas (academics, running a house and a budget, clearance shopping, etc.) so that when they graduate from my homeschool, they will be ready to walk into anything God has for them. I went into this whole-heatedly.

Most of my strategies were good ideas, some not so good, and some were downright failures. Here are some of my good ideas :

  • academic strength
  • learning proper socialization
  • creative classes to reflect each child’s interests
  • problem solving skills
  • hard work ethic
  • strong civics understanding
  • strong self identity
  • a heart after God

Okay, I feel a bit better after coming up with that list. Now my “not so good” list:

  • breeding animals in the home (pomeranians started sex-ed at a way to young age for my comfort), (butterflies, tiny silks with worms hanging off of them in the hair of my children at the dinner table)
  • homeschooling in the summer (good idea, bad implementation)
  • teaching the kids to drive by myself (okay, with a little soul searching on this one, I am moving it to the “stupidity” column)

Enough with that, I am getting a little depressed. Let’s go to the “failure” list:

  • using Abeka math for three classes in highschool even when I knew it wasn’t working for us (oh the hours I wasted trying to figure out their way of doing things when I could have just taught my kids the way I knew how to do them)
  • logic fallacies course

Those are just enough to give you the idea of where I am on this. So now onto my greatest strategy error:

Teaching my children how to back up an argument and pointing out the logical fallacies in another person’s argument.

And this is why: My kids can argue me in circles until I don’t know what hit me. Seriously. I also prepared my kids to be independent after graduating from school, and they are way too independent. Plus they are now smarter than me and have a higher vocabulary than I have.

It is just embarrassing when I have to  look up the definitions of words my daughter uses in her writing assignments. It’s humbling when the kids can run the house smoothly when you are out of town for an extended time.

If I had to do it all over again, I have to question what I would do differently. So with great reflection, here they are:

  • waited to buy the first butterfly caccoon until later in the summer when it would be warm enough to let them free
  • not buy the tadpole as it turned into a frog that we couldn’t let loose in a pond and had to buy a friend for
  • not give scissors to a toddler to practice cutting paper while I was homeschooling the other kids, resulting in a beautiful new groove on the edge of the table (who knew safety scissors could actually do that!)
  • taught each subject to suit all levels of kids instead of each child having their own and unique curriculum
  • not study logic fallacies and debate (talk about a student soaking in a subject, biiig mistake

 

I have one child left to homeschool, and she is so smart and independent that she really doesn’t need me much. Mostly she needs me to read to her and discuss ideas. So I am basically out of a job. My older kids have a good head on their shoulders and work hard, and have better ideas about life advice than I normally have. Now they are giving me advice! Argh! But it’s too late. I guess I will have to wait and give fair warning to my kids when they start homeschooling. Of course, they probably will already know that…

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Out of the Parenting Hazes

Coming out of the parenting haze and finding…

My husband and I waited two years after marriage to have our first bundle of blessings. It was amazing what God had blessed us with. Our beautiful daughter soon turned into three beautiful daughters and one handsome son. I greatly loved those years and do wish them back at times. It was what I termed “The Baby Haze”. I was blessed to be a 24/7 mom and I don’t think I ever completed one complete thought or prayer.

Next came “The Toddler Haze” which helped me to keep my svelt shape for many years. I had never done so much running, diving and trying to hold two wiggly kids at once in my life. At that point it was all out survival, as in keeping all my kids alive.

“The School Haze” was next, and homeschooling caused this to be quite lengthy. I have loved every minute of it, and learned how to instantaneously switch from explaining how to write a report to answering a Biology question, to helping with a Greatest Common Factor question, to a Greek civilization question. The haze felt much like schizophrenia.

I have graduated 3 of my precious children in the past few years, and am left with one talented 9th grader. She seriously could homeschool herself if needed.

Now I realize that the haze is lifting. My husband and I are getting to see each other again and actually spend time together in something other than parenting pursuits. We are getting to spend more and more time together, and it feels great! Sometimes I go into work with him and hang out in his office while he works and runs to class. I helped him move his office down the hall a couple of weeks ago, and we just really enjoyed each other.

I have found that the man I fell in love with 25 years ago has matured in honorable and godly ways, holding great wisdom for the time that our children will not see us as so stupid and embarrassing.

I really thought when I would start empty nesting I would fall apart, but that just hasn’t been the case. It has been gradual and I am finding awesome opportunities for my husband and me.

Sunbathing in the Throne Room

When God is our light, where else would we sunbathe?

The Bible tells us that in the new heaven and new earth, God will be the light and we will no longer have the sun. People have found this interesting and just plain cool for a long time, but I don’t think people have really thought through this scenario. I admit that I really hadn’t either until today. The outcome of my deep thinking is this: if God is the sun, then we will have to sunbathe in the throne room. A little awkward, right? There are some other concepts that also come to mind when thinking about the Sun.

How is it that we go to bed at night with the weight of the world on our shoulders, slumped in defeat at the errors of the day and then wake up the next morning feeling like we are strong and can take on the world?

Think about this: the tiredness and mental battering come at us as it gets dark, and even into the wee hours of the night. People having trouble sleeping, having bad or just plain crazy dreams or pacing the night away is a problem everyone understands. People even say that nothing good happens after midnight. And that is true because the night is where a lot of shootings or robbings or domestic disputes happen.

Now we have the day, the morning light. It fills us with a sense of ability to meet the challenges of the day, a peaceful calm that comes over us as we sit over our cup of coffee. Then we work hard during the day to be educated or to work, having great satisfaction of our abilities to make a difference in the world in some small way.

Is the analogy shouting at you right now? Our enemy, the devil, carries out much of his business at night. He seems to have more success in suggesting sinful ideas to people and have the people following his suggestions. God, on the other side, works in the light. The Bible says that in the new heaven and the new earth, God will provide all the light as we will have no more need for the Sun.

It’s pretty cool to see the symbolism of God being light every day of our lives. So put on some sunscreen and grab your sunglasses, and bask in the light of our God.

I’m Getting My Life Back! (Version 2)

My life got stolen and I have been looking for it ever since. The skeptic in you is probably rising up at this point and saying that as long as I am breathing I have not lost my life. But I am an American, and a part of my rights is the pursuit of “LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

The three ideas espoused in the Declaration of Independence are our rights that many Americans have fought and died for. I then take great offence at my not being able to pursue them for too long. I have my own Revolutionary War going, and have been fighting those stupid red coats who are trying to prevent me from having those rights. I have fought the fight for my whole life and it boils down to this: Yesterday I homeschooled my daughter, washed my living room and kitchen windows, put in new screens, and scoured part of my linoleum on my hands and knees! (Fanfare)

This is a big deal to me because I have haven’t ever been able to clean as I have wanted due to years of abuse. That’s where my life was stolen. Health and emotions were on a downwards spiral, and now I am getting better and stronger!!!!! I have watched my house be dirty without any feasible way of getting it clean for way too long.

Thank you, God, for helping me to get my house clean! He was watching me yesterday, and I’m sure he was yelling, “You can do it, Lisa! Coffee stain to your left!” I could have looked at the hard years and gotten angry with God, but I didn’t. I have said it before and I will say it again:

God = good
devil = bad

(Note: This is version 2 of the post right before this one, I’m Getting My Life Back! (Version 1). Which do you think gets the point across better?

Living Forty Decibels Up

Upping our walk with Jesus.

I closed the door softly as I cautiously stepped into the hall. My sandals scuffed against the commercial rug. I walked slowly into the elevator and pressed the lobby button. A ping thundered out and I almost hit the roof.

This was my day, and it only got louder from there. Keys jangling, doors slamming, muffler-less motorcycles speeding by and the loud rustling of my Micheal’s shopping bag were all greeting me in completely fascinating ways.

Today was the day that I got plugged into hearing aids. Having lost around forty decibels of hearing, I was at the line between the mild/moderate hearing loss category. Those lilting words gave the impression of not a big deal, but let me tell you, it is LOUD! The loss has apparently been slowly creeping up on me over the years, and I just didn’t notice it.

I wish it were as easy as a hearing test to find out the deficiencies in my fervor in loving the Lord. It is so easy for our Bible times to become shorter, missing a Sunday here and there turns into more theres, and our prayer life becomes a laundry list of needs more than a conversation with our Heavenly Father.

As I try to figure out how to navigate this louder world, we need to all take the time to take a good heart check. King David did it in his famous verse about God checking to find if there was any wicked way in him. As we do this, our heart becomes closer to God, our time becomes more about Him, and the cries of the unsaved in the world that need God becomes noticeable to us. I think we can all ramp up our relationship with God about forty decibels.

I Don’t Have to be Smart for God

There is a great mystery that nobody understands, and that is: Why does God choose the people that He does to do something big for Him?

In the Billy Graham/Joel Osteen age, we think that they were special, extra close to God, specially called, famous or just plain smart. We know that God used people who had moral failures or weaknesses in the Bible, but we kind of have the sense that it stopped there. We sit in the pews each week and have a heart of great love for God, but feel inadequate for God to use us.

Then I read the story of Samson and Delilah in the Bible’s book of Judges. God gave Samson great strength and he was never to cut his hair. So Samson went about killing Philistines with whatever around him he had handy, like the the jawbone of an ox. Then he goes to a harlot and stays for quite a while. Every night she asks him the secret of his strength, every night he tells her if she ties him up with this or that his strength would be gone. Every night she ties him up with whatever he tells her and he breaks it easily. Finally she nags him to death and he tells her about the hair cutting. So she cuts his hair, the Philistines capture him, and from there the story goes downhill real fast.

I must admit that usually I skim over this story because it’s just plain disturbing no matter which part you read. But this morning I was having coffee and reading my Bible with no one else around. I slowed down and really paid attention this time and realized that ole Samson wasn’t really that bright.

My epiphany has most likely already in your mind with the brief synopsis I gave you. This is why he was stupid:

1. He went into the house of a harlot.
2. The first night that Delilah asked him his secret for strength and she tied him up should have been a red flag.
3. The second night she asked him about his secret and she tied him up should have been an even bigger red flag.
4. The third night… Let’s just say this went on for a while.
5. He supposedly did not wake up at night when she tied him up, but as soon as she uses her voice to tell him to wake up he does. At first I just assumed he was a sound sleeper, but this was a fighting man with a lot of Philistines trying to kill him. He would not be a sound sleeper. How would he sleep through the tying up and not through her voice.
6. We never hear of any relationship he had with God. God would move on him to do things, but that’s all we get.

Conclusion: Samson was a lunkhead.

So now we extrapolate to our lives. I think as we sit in the pews and watch our pastors and all the rock star tv evangelists, it’s easy to think we aren’t smart enough to be used by God. We are not special enough. I would argue that if God could use someone like Samson, he could use any of us. There are no prerequisites. There is no being ready. You just are.

The next time God taps us on the shoulder to do something, let’s jump in and do it. I bet no matter what, you will be a lot smarter than Samson.

My Coffee Break With God

What I would ask God if we had a coffee break together.

I wonder where God stands on coffee? I am assuming He is all for it for he made the coffee beans in the first place. I would also assume that it will be in Heaven as well, so we would then be able to sit down to with the Almighty for a coffee break. I would imagine those of you who know me can see where this coffee chat is going…what topics I would like to talk to God about…

  • So the idea behind the mosquito was what?
  • How bad did Noah’s ark smell?
  • Where do all the lost socks go?
  • Why did you have to use hormones on teenagers?
  • Does watching church on tv count as going to church?
  • Do you have video recordings on everything that has ever happened on earth?
  • Will there be blogging in Heaven?
  • How in the world did the wisest man in the world (King Solomon) take so man wives? I mean, that really wasn’t smart…
  • Have you been running the human experience over and over again throughout eternity so you don’t get bored? Do you wait for humans to completely destroy their world before you decide to build another one?
  • Why are dogs happy to play fetch over and over every day like it’s a brand new game while my kids tire of their Christmas gifts within a week?
  • Why did my newborns keep me up all night while my sister-in-law’s kids started sleeping through right away?
  • Why don’t I ever know where my cell phone is?
  • Is it true that a butterfly halfway around the around the earth can flutter its wings and cause a hurricane here?
  • Where is heaven?

This is just getting me started. Do you have any questions you would ask?

 

Coffee and Meandering Life Philosophies

I love coffee. Sometimes I hold it close in cold hands and allow it to gently warm me. Other times I am hot and the coffee makes me sweaty and sticky. Every once in a while it’s perfect either way. But the worst is when I go and spill it all over myself. Coffee is supposed to give me a good start to my day, but if it stains my clothes (or burns me) it just makes me crabby and I mumble the rest of the day.

There has been lots going on in my life lately with which I have needed countless cups to figure it out, or not figure it out. Some things are so tangled right now that I don’t know which direction is up or down, which is bad when I have a cup of coffee in my hand.

I homeschool my kids, as many of you know. Well, at least “kid” because I am down to one. She is beginning 9th grade and I am getting more and more excited as our starting date comes up. We start when my professor husband and two kids go back to college at the end of the month. Otherwise it is unfair for Laura to watch everyone else getting their last bit of fun done before starting back and then she’d just be schooling. If that happened, I think she would take my cup of coffee and throw it at me.

I have also been dealing with BMV paperwork with our annual registration paperwork and fees. We have also finally retired our very tired van and bought a new for us car. My son also just bought himself a car. That means more paperwork, more money and me stuck on the computer trying to figure out how to do this all on a crazy government website. You are probably wondering what this has to do with coffee. It has everything to do with it because my epiphany came while I was drinking coffee: I will just have my Laura do it so that she can be “taught” how to do it for life skills. I think I could put that one by her, as long as she is not reading this blog.

My son, Jeff, has a girlfriend that he really likes (and who is godly and very sweet). This has been fun because Jeff will come and sit by me and ask all sorts of questions. We talk about manhood, responsibility, education, degrees, relationships, questions about how Patrick and I dated, married, and stayed in love over the years. This is all coffee worthy conversations and they are a lot of fun. Jeff is a big sweetheart, and if this girl ends up with him, she will be very blessed indeed.

A close friend of my kids just got engaged. This is a two coffee strain of thinking because if he can do it, then so can my kids. I’m not sure I’m ready for this, and when I sit, sip and try to think my mind just goes blank. I guess in this instance coffee has let me down.

Finally, I have been in a wonderful women’s Bible Study and we have been talking a lot about grace. I love the grace God grants me, but sometimes don’t want to give my grace to others. Okay, this time I’ll just get the whole pot…