Friday, December 16, 2016

Ho Ho Hernia

I was contemplating calling the doctor a few weeks ago hoping to get an antibiotic and some relief from a nasty cold-like flu that had hit our house.

I made mention to some friends that I also had this weird swollen lymph node in my groin and it had been there for some time.

Like, 3 months.

I know, not cool.

Julie offered to take care of it herself 
if I didn't seek medical attention immediately.

And she has a lot of tools.

I mentioned the mystery groin lump to the nurse when I made the appointment and I swear, she lowered her voice and was all,

"Oh, really?" 

But it got me an appointment.

When I went in, I felt silly.

My doctor is a friend and it ALWAYS seems like I'M THE ONE sitting on the paper-lined table telling her I'm having heart trouble only for her to tell me it's a Wii Fit injury and to lay off the side planks for a while.

Worked like a charm.

Or to ask if my neck mole is ok and she said yes DON'T MESS WITH IT and then I went and burned the holy heck out of it with Frankincense oil because I saw it on the internet.

The mole is still there, by the way.

I just really wanted to go in with a legitimate, honest to goodness flu, get my antibiotics, mention on the way out, "Hey, what about this swollen groin thing?" hear her say it's part of the flu and wish her Merry Christmas and be. gone.

She went right to the groin.

She poked on it once and said,

"You have a femoral hernia."





Basically, my intestines were squirting out from a weak area in my muscle wall and causing the lump.

It would not go away on its own.

In fact, it would continue to get worse.

Much. Worse.

I explained how I was NOT a body builder and she said it didn't matter and it probably had something to do with me dressing up in an inflatable dinosaur costume and jumping on a trampoline.

Of course she was kidding.

She referred me to a surgeon and said it had to be surgically removed because problems could arise when your intestines are squirting through a hole it isn't supposed to.

Then she printed out some information for me to review at home.

The nurse handed me the information as I was leaving and said to be sure to look over it.

It included pictures.

Sorry. But I have to share. 
Look away if you don't like graphic things. 

Basically, this was my possible future if I didn't get the surgery pronto.

IN HORROR, I told the nurse it looked like Barbie was turning into Ken.
(Sorry, that was graphic too!)

She almost fell out of her chair.

Now, here is the point you know you've been married a long time.

Monte and I had met our insurance deductible for the first time in our married life so this surgery was basically going to be completely covered.

And we were excited about that.

Newlyweds could not appreciate 
or celebrate 
a free hernia surgery.

I was able to get into a surgeon right away through the wonderful contacts of our friend, Mark.

He was lovely.

My friend Mark told him about my blog.

I prayed he didn't go into the archives 
and read about the Frankincense incident.

We scheduled the surgery for Tuesday. I had to be on the east side of the city at 6:10 am.

It was in the same surgical complex Monte had his colonoscopy/endoscopy.

We were becoming regulars.

Monte sent this pre-surgery picture out and he showed me this one with notes from Julie to show the surgeon.

Except that is the wrong side.
Luckily, the surgeon came in and marked me with a blue marker which side to operate on.

I still can't get that marker off.

I really don't remember a whole lot after that except telling someone I couldn't feel my face.

I don't think I could feel my face here either.

We got home just before it started snowing big, beautiful flakes.

I was very content to lie on the couch, semi-sedated, watching it snow.

I mentioned it was like a scene from a Christmas Hallmark movie.

Monte decided it would be called,

"Ho Ho Hernia."

I'd still watch it.

I figured out that it hurt LIKE A STABBING KNIFE when I laughed.

I told Monte to stop being funny.

He said he could not NOT be funny.

I also learned that the pain of a cough made me lose control of my bladder just a teence.

The first time I showered, I noticed that half my abdomen looked like a Sneetch from Dr. Seuss.

Lots of swelling.

So the last few days have been filled with lots of couch time, pain pills, ice packs, elastic-waisted pants and avoiding funny people.

Which hasn't been easy.

They keep finding me.

And sending me pictures.

Today is our 21st wedding anniversary.

Who would've thought all those years ago that we'd be spending this anniversary eating Italian takeout while listening to Bruno Mars and then folding laundry in our bedroom while the girls clean the house because I'm recovering from Ho Ho Hernia,  for the love of Pete.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Gladness of All Time

I have been reading and listening to a bible study on gladness.

The word "gladden" in Hebrew is the word "samach."

It means to rejoice, be glad.

There are several verses in the bible that speaks of some version of the word glad.

Sometimes it's mentioned along with the word heart.

"Therefore my heart is glad…" 
(Psalm 16:9 & Acts 2:26)

"… to gladden the heart of man" 
(Psalm 104:14-15)

Other times it stands on its own.

"For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD;  I sing for joy at the works of your hands."
 (Psalm 92:4)

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
(Psalm 118:24)

The phrase we think of at Christmas the most, "glad tidings," means to "tell good news" or "preach the gospel."

We sing about it in "Angels We Have Heard on High" 
and "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

The word "tidings" means news.

It needs the word "glad" to make it good news.

We sing of tidings of comfort and joy in "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."

I know I've sang that song a million times but it struck me hearing the lyrics of comfort and joy.

It really was news at that time.

And still is today.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
Oh tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came,
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay,
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace,
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy

What a gift. The gift of gladness. The gift of comfort. The gift of joy.
This gift can be given to us in the midst of mourning.
This gift can be given to us in the midst of discouragement.

Believe me, I know what it's like to be "struck" 
with the funny of something in the most inopportune times.

This study of gladness revealed that sometimes it's that gladness in the midst of sadness or madness that is not only our push to help us through, but encouragement to someone else who is watching.
Beth Moore put it like this:
"There may be no greater, more visible and conspicuous gift we believers have to give in this world full of sadness 
than the hope of our gladness."

It's that gift that helps us laugh at a memory while we grieve.
It's that gift that keeps us smiling instead of sinking into bitterness or despair over our circumstances.

But it's a gift we have to unwrap.

Haven't we all seen or felt ourselves, 

the pushing away of the gift of gladness in the midst of sorrow 

it felt out of place?

or disrespectful

Leave it to the world to make gladness and joy a negative.

That Hebrew word "samach" that means gladden is also the same origin for the word "gloat."
Gloat is just an arrogant version of gladness.
It's used in Micah 7:8-10:
"Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
The Lord will be my light.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.
Then my enemy will see it
and will be covered with shame."

But God never intended our enemy to gloat over us.
To be so glad that we are not enjoying our gift of gladness that we give the devil the last word.
The gloat.

And nothing makes the devil smirk more 
than when we bypass the gift of gladness 
in our sadness.
God meant for us to gloat over our enemy.

It we don't choose gladness, the devil will. 
Don't let him gloat in the gladness of 
keeping us from gloating in our gladness. 

God meant for us to have the last word. 
The last gloat.
He intended for the gloating rights to be ours.
To be confident in our joy that comes from the Lord.

My girls are always calling people a "GOAT."
It's an acronym for the "greatest of all time."
It made me think of a good reminder for gladness:
"gladness of all time."

God is our source of gladness, our joy.
Our GLOAT can only come from Him.
Not happiness, that is tied to this world, but the true GLAD TIDINGS.
The good news that this world has been conquered.
We have a savior.
And for that, we can gloat.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Are You Ready For Some Christmas?

I'm not sure why, but it seemed like there was a long gap between Thanksgiving and December this year.

Once we returned to Ohio from the Thanksgiving holiday and threw away all the pumpkins and packed up all the Fall decorations,

it was still November.

I am not one of those people that can put up a Christmas tree during the Thanksgiving holiday.

I just can't.

I may change one day.

But for now, I need December to actually be here before I think of hitting a Christmas tree lot.

I actually did something somewhat brilliant this year.

I printed the addresses of my Christmas card list out on labels.

It was so fast and easy!

And I only did 30 cards at a time so I didn't have that dread of killing a whole night addressing cards.

Depending on where you fall in the alphabet, 
you may have gotten a Christmas card from us while it was still November.

Yeah, I was that person.

Clearly, my Christmas tree rule 
isn't a hard fast rule 
for all things Christmas.

Monte is leaving soon for an out of town conference so he took today off to help get the outdoor Christmas lights hung up.

Of course, it's windy and cold.

It's been quite balmy most of the week.

I have been trying to fight off a cold all week with all manner of Zicam, Emergen-C, Echinacea, clementines and homemade soup.

This morning, I woke up with clogged ears, crusty eyes and the general feeling that I had been run over by large machinery in my sleep.

I felt like I screamed through my prayer group and was either super hot and sweaty or just downright freezing.

I was still pretty hard of hearing and full of brain fog when Monte came in muttering he couldn't figure out baby Jesus.

Before I had a chance to present the gospel to him

or more realistically say, 


I noticed he was holding the plastic baby Jesus of our nativity scene.

I'm so excited we bought a plastic set from the hardware store in my hometown last year the day after Christmas.

Monte went in looking for a bargain and came out with a full price nativity set.

He said something like, 

"I bet you don't want to store that until next year 
so let me make you an offer."

Their counteroffer was they didn't mind at all storing it 
so it was still full price.

Either way, I got my nativity set.

Mary and Joseph required us to purchase and install 60-watt bulbs, but baby Jesus came with his own special light.

Of course.

Monte couldn't understand why it wasn't coming on very well.

He finally figured out the bulb was covered in plastic to keep it from breaking.

Can you imagine if Monte left it plugged in 
and baby Jesus caught fire?!

You know we'd have to call the fire department 
and it would be our now friend Alan 
who answered our earlier call about the noise coming from our fireplace 
and he'd have to use the big fire hose to extinguish baby Jesus 
and we'd be left with Mary and Joseph looking lovingly 
at a charred piece of burnt plastic.

But alas, 

Monte figured out baby Jesus 

and none of that happened.

Although he did have an uncomfortable moment installing the light inside of Joseph.

He said he now knew how our friend Mark, 
who preforms colonoscopies, felt.

For many reasons, 
Monte made me install Mary's bulb.

They are now resting calmly under our lilac tree.

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