Life

Looking Back at 2010

I’m answering (In)Courage’s end-of-year questions today because it’s waaaay easier than trying to sum up my year on my own.

I’m lazy like that. 🙂

___________________________

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

Kevin survived his motorcycle accident.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

Helping Kevin recover from his motorcycle accident and help him learn to walk again. By the grace of God, the man not only survived being hit head on, but he conquered his injuries and is now back to normal (save for a slight limp).

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

Being able to go ahead and take our family vacation to New York and cruise up to Canada. We weren’t sure we were going to make it because of Kevin’s accident, but he healed faster than anyone thought he would and with the help of a walker, a cane, and his family, we were able to go on our vacation. It was really hard on Kevin, but he endured and it was a sweet victory.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

My intestinal issues. Even though we all knew my problems would eventually catch up with me, we didn’t expect them to require emergency surgery or happen at the worst time of year. (Though I suppose it could have been worse – I could have been stuck in Canada when my problem flared up).

5. Pick three words to describe 2010.

Apprehensive
Uncertain
Challenging

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2010 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).

Strong
Stubborn
Determined

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2010 (again, without asking).

Shocking
Painful
Persevered

8. What were the best books you read this year?

Based on the “5” rating on my books page:

The Pact by Jodi Picoult
Morning Comes Softly by Debbie Macomber
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
Never Change by Elizabeth Berg
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

My husband, my boys and my parents.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

I think having Kevin home was probably my biggest personal challenge. His job liquidated because they couldn’t obtain funding (banks weren’t lending money, thanks Obama), so he ended up wrapping up the company from home. It was challenging to have him underfoot every day, but we managed.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

I grow emotionally nearly every day. I’m constantly challenging aspects of my personality and trying to BE a better person. I’m working on it.

I can honestly say that I believe I’m a much better person than I have ever been. I’m still pretty opinionated, egotistical and judgmental, but I’m learning that life? Is not always black and white, no matter how much I try and tell myself that.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

Kevin’s accident just strengthened my faith. I know, without one smidgen of doubt, that our faith in God is what saved him and saw us through that trying time. It also helped me become more publicly comfortable with my Christian faith and I’m now more free to share my faith with others. I would like to believe that the Truth or Tradition articles I post on this blog also bless some people out there and I can’t help but wonder if the challenges we’ve been through this past year were attacks from the adversary because we are being EFFECTIVE in spreading God’s wonderful truth.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

I think I’ve grown more comfortable with my body over this past year. I certainly understand it better now that I’ve learned my intestinal issues were indeed an ISSUE. I’ve also learned to listen a little more carefully and to not put off going to see the doctor in the future.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

Kevin and I have grown even closer since his accident. We bonded on unexpected levels; it’s a much deeper bond than simply being man and wife. He completely relied on me for several weeks while he recovered and we have a much deeper understanding of each other as a result.

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?

We did a ton of stuff around the house this year:

New kitchen
Completely re-decorated the living room/dining room
Ripped up carpets and replaced with hardwood floors in living room/dining room.
Re-did the front bathroom
New roof
Repainted the front entrance

We still want to replace the carpet with hand-scraped hardwood in the family room sometime this next year.

I’m not a big homemaker, and making all of these changes was a big pain, but it looks really good and we’re really happy with the end results. I can’t imagine living anywhere else – I love our home.

16. What was your most challenging area of home management?

Getting through the kitchen remodel. That was a mess. I had to wash dishes in the bathroom for a few weeks and the dust alone was enough to drive a sane person crazy. But again, the end result was WELL WORTH the trouble.

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

Probably Twitter and Facebook, which is probably a pretty universal answer. But you know? I think my love affair with Twitter is about over. I’m finding it increasingly LAME.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

I can’t answer this question – I’m still looking for the best way to use my time. I have a feeling though, this might be the year I find it. (BIG changes on the horizon for our lives for 2011).

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?

That God is good, family is everything and I’m much stronger than I originally thought.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2010 for you.

This year was filled with tears, prayers, gratitude and healing.

Life

Back from the Brink – Part Two

I have good days, I also have days where I’m so weak it’s hard to hold my head up.

It’s amazing how much energy your body requires to get over surgery. Just the simple act of taking a shower makes me huff and puff like I’ve just run a 5K and I have to sit down and catch my breath before moving on to putting on my makeup and drying my hair. What used to take me 45 minutes now takes me two hours to accomplish. It’s really frustrating.

In addition, my appetite alternates between RAVENOUS and NAUSEOUS. It’s the most bizarre feeling. I’m at once both hungry and sick at the same time. Though I am eating, it takes effort and I rarely finish anything anymore. I realize that my stomach is most likely the size of a walnut right now, but just eating a bowl of cereal almost seems more than it’s worth at times.

I have pain pills, but I don’t take them very often. The pain that I feel is mainly caused by my staples. Since it’s a vertical cut and my staples are in the folds of my skin, I feel them every time I bend or sit. Sometimes they’re so tight it’s like I caught some of my skin in my zipper and it pinches – hard.

Having a BM or passing gas is also sometimes really painful. I just have to breathe through it because there is no way in hell I’m holding any of that stuff in ever again. I’m assuming this is because my intestine has been pieced back together, but I’ll be sure to ask the doctor about that when I go in to see him on January 6th to have my staples removed.

Though this has been a very difficult week, it’s also getting better. I am getting stronger and my body is slowly adjusting. I’m still glad this happened though as it means I’ve finally gotten my problem fixed and now it’s just a question of finding my new normal.

A quick word about my roommates:

I had three while I was in the hospital. The first one was a sweet, sassy older woman who had had throat surgery. She had somehow developed some sort of pocket in her throat and it prevented her from swallowing. She was extremely nice and left me alone, but once in a while she would softly call out, “You okay over there, Karen?” Her daughter kept her company most of the time, though her son came in one time. They were both teachers and I learned that the man was actually a teacher at my son’s schools. We compared names and he thought he remembered my youngest son – typical. Jazz is a talker and would most likely be the one teachers remembered. He taught freshmen science so it’s very likely he had taught my boys.

The woman and her daughter got along extremely well and they gave each other a hard time, joking around and whatnot. It was really amusing to listen to them. They reminded me a lot of my mom and her mother – they just had a comfortable and easy going relationship. It made me miss my mom.

(By the way, mom called me a lot while I was in the hospital. I really appreciated talking to her and it made me feel like a little girl whenever I would hear the concern in her voice. Talking to her helped me stay grounded and encouraged me – everything was going to be all right).

The woman was gone by the time I got back from my endoscopy. (Yes. I had a colonoscopy AND an endoscopy. Lucky me, right?)

My second roommate arrived on the day of my surgery. I’m not really sure what she was in for, but she was recovering from surgery and they wanted to observe her over night, her husband was with her and he was very protective of her. She didn’t say much, her husband did most of her communication for her, but the few times she spoke she seemed nice enough. I don’t remember much from the night after my surgery, but I do remember waking up to this woman’s husband yelling. He apologized profusely for his abruptness. He was a Vietnam Veteran and sudden noises would cause him to jerk awake and yell in reaction to his time at war. It only happened a few times that night, but it was enough to disturb me. I didn’t mind, really, it sort of kept my mind off my own troubles, at least temporarily. They left Christmas Eve day.

My third roommate arrived on the day I was due to be released from the hospital. She had had a tumor removed from her bladder and she was expected to be released the next day. She talked, non-stop, from the MOMENT she arrived. And I mean, non-stop. She recanted every bit of her surgery at least a hundred times and she spoke with a slow … southern … drawl. To top it off, she didn’t have her hearing aids in so everyone had to repeat their questions no less than four times.

She drove me absolutely mad within five minutes and I thanked God that I wouldn’t have to deal with her over night. She was a sweet lady, but extremely slow, not only in speech, but overall, though some of that might have been because she was still a bit sedated. In fact, her family popped their head around the curtain to apologize for her. “Sorry about this,” they said. “She likes to talk.”

That was the understatement of the year. In fact, she talked so much, even the nurses gently chided her and reminded her that she was sharing the room and to have a little respect for her roommate. I had to listen to her all morning until my doctor finally came in around 12:30 that day to officially release me. I was never so glad to get out of there in all my life. Another few hours and they would have had to lock me in a looney bin. Seriously.

Christmas Day – 2010

I woke up to silence. Whenever you’ve been in the hospital for a while, you notice when it’s quiet. I had my room to myself and very nearly the entire floor to myself. The place was virtually empty. The only people left were likely emergency cases like myself.

Christmas Day was uneventful for me. I walked around the floor several times (to show the nurses that I was getting around on my own well enough and because I was bored out of my mind in my room all by my lonesome), and a few patients had decorated their rooms with tiny Christmas trees and their families had brought all of their gifts up to celebrate Christmas together. I regretted, more than once, that my family hadn’t decided to go ahead and celebrate Christmas at the hospital and I felt lonely, sad and very sorry for myself.

It was not a very joyous Christmas for me or my family.

It was a quiet day – I watched TV, surfed the ‘net, pooped (no less than SIX times, thank you very much), talked to my mom, my guys, slept and tried not to be bitter about spending Christmas at the hospital. In short, I was a pathetic mess, but I tried hard not to let the nurses see how depressed I was. Remember, it was all about convincing them to let me go home.

The day after Christmas was more of the same. I walked, I forced myself to eat solid food (even though I didn’t eat much, it was enough to show the nurses that I could handle it), I watched TV, slept, pooped, surfed the ‘net and longed to go home. The doctor on call was impressed with my progress. He said that many patients who had the same sort of surgery as me took a minimum of five or six days to recover enough to go home, but considering I was doing so well, he was going to recommend I go home the next day – just four days after my surgery.

Since I was eating and drinking so well on my own, the nurses unhooked my IV and I was a free woman. They left me alone Sunday night save for one time to come in and take my vitals and I was able to get some pretty good sleep that night.

Monday morning, they allowed me to take a shower (which was SOOOOO HARD to get through but I managed) and I got dressed, packed up my stuff and impatiently waited for my doctor to finally show up around lunch time to get the process started on allowing me to go home.

Kevin came and got me and we got home around 3:30 Monday, December 27th. I took a pain pill around 6:00 that evening, had a little dinner and felt okay enough to participate in our Christmas by 8:00 that evening.

But that’s another post.

So, all in all, I was in the hospital for a little over a week. I went in on December 18th, went home on December 20th, went back on December 22nd and was finally released December 27th. Even though I wish the timing had been better on this whole episode, I’m so glad that my intestinal issues are over and we can all get back to normal.

Life

Back from the Brink – Part One

I’m emerging from a bad dream. Seriously, this past week has been a trip to hell and back. I’ve never been so uncomfortable in all my life.

This is also the first time I’ve felt like sitting down and writing about my experiences. I’ve been in physical pain and mentally drained of all emotion and thought. I’m not 100% yet – in fact, as I sit here, my heart is hammering double time, I feel a little woozy and my staples are so tight that it’s hard to catch a breath, but at least I can sit upright without wanting to pass out, so we’re making progress.

In case you’re just tuning in, this time last week I admitted myself to the hospital. My insides swelled to about three times their size and I was unable to pass gas or have a bowel movement for close to a week. I was a walking time bomb – literally. In fact, if this had had happened back in the old days, before all of our technologies and talented doctors, I’m quite certain I would have died. My insides would have burst, toxins would have flooded my body and I would simply cease to exist.

But let’s not get melodramatic.

Surgery Day – December 23

I was scheduled to go into surgery around 3:00 or 4:00 that day. I still had a rectal tube (sorry for the TMI but sometimes life is messy) and as if I wasn’t uncomfortable enough and didn’t have enough on my plate to deal with, I started my period. (I was late, by the way. In fact, I had quite convinced myself that I was going to skip the month of December entirely, but no such luck). I freaked out thinking that would somehow postpone my surgery, but the nurses assured me it wasn’t that big of a deal. In fact, they said, it happened quite often. They said that the stress of having surgery often triggered women into a menstrual cycle so I didn’t feel too bad after that.

But still ….. NOW?!?!

The day ticked by slowly. I wasn’t physically uncomfortable, they were giving me something for the pain, but I was dying of thirst. I had been NPO (nothing by mouth) for 24-hours and my mouth was like the Sahara Desert. I was also worried that I would get bumped and my surgery would be put off for another day. (That happened to Kevin a few times when he had had his motorcycle accident back in April. I think he got bumped three times before I threw a fit and they got to him).

Two o’clock rolled around and still no word. I started to sweat but hadn’t given up hope at that point. The nurses didn’t know anything. Finally, at 2:30, they told me they were coming for me.

Kevin and the boys were there and they rode down to the operating area with me. I tried my best to maintain a positive attitude around them, I didn’t want them to worry, but inside I was scared out of my mind. I’ve never had surgery before and I wasn’t sure what to expect or how it would go.

We said our goodbyes (I remember waving cheerfully and feeling so stupid – like I was about to go on vacation or something – I also remember the boys’ worried faces) and they wheeled me into the holding room. Due to some procedure protocol, they had to make sure I wasn’t pregnant. They had me go to a restroom to produce a urine sample. I couldn’t produce a urine sample, I had just peed and honestly didn’t have any more to give. This was a problem, because they couldn’t proceed with the surgery until they made sure I wasn’t pregnant. (This must have been an issue for them in the past because they were QUITE insistent). Luckily, they had drawn some blood from me and the blood sample is good for 72 hours. So, I had to wait about 30 minutes for them to get a sample of that blood and then run a pregnancy test on it.

It was negative, of course. (As if my being on my period wasn’t enough of a sign I wasn’t pregnant, but they had to do their job).

While I was waiting to find out the result of my non-issue pregnancy test, I laid on my bed and listened to other people either being prepped for surgery or coming out of surgery. The groans of pain was enough to cause the hairs on my arms to stand on end. There was one very old woman who was unresponsive to their questions and they spent several tense moments trying to revive her. In addition, every time the doors would open, I would get a glimpse of several nurses waiting to go into their surgeries and some of them had on full face masks and protective eye wear, like they were preparing to drill into bone or something.

I was quickly freaking myself out. My blood pressure rose and my heart rate sky rocketed. I could hear other doctors coming in and reassuring their patients, even making them laugh, and that helped me somewhat. I forced myself to relax but I’ll be honest, it was hard. I was seriously scared.

And alone.

My nurses were great. They really were. But they were busy and didn’t really have the time to spend with me comforting me, so I just sort of made myself relax because I was afraid if I got myself worked up too much more, they would have to postpone my surgery.

It wasn’t as if I WANTED my surgery, I just wanted to have it over with so I could concentrate on getting better.

Finally, my doctor came in.

A word about my doctor – I don’t like him. He’s not the most personable doctor I’ve ever had and his bed-side manner sucks, but to be fair, I was an emergency case and he was fitting me in, so I should be grateful for that. It’s just, every time I needed something, or the nurses needed to ask him a question, he could never be reached and he never returned calls. The few times he had come to see me in the hospital, he was brusque and borderline rude. I just hoped his medical skills were better than his people skills.

My doctor came in. He came to my bed never once looking at me. He went through my paperwork, signed where he was supposed to sign never making eye contact with me or saying anything to me. Even the nurses sort of shuffled nervously around him. Finally, he looked at me. “Any questions?”

By now, I’m so irritated with him for not giving me the time of day even though he was getting ready to cut into me I just returned his dead-pan look and said, “nope.”

And that was that. He turned on his heel and I watched him walk off.

That was the last thing I remembered before the surgery.

Kevin told me that the surgery took 2 1/2 hours – longer than they were expecting. Apparently, in addition to cutting out the twist in my large intestine, they discovered that I had A TON of extra intestine that needed to be removed. How they didn’t see this on the x-rays or the CT scan is beyond me, but they cut out all of that extra intestine (the doctor later illustrated just how much that was and it was A LOT) and sewed the ends back together again.

Because they had to remove all of this extra intestine, my incision ended up being MUCH longer than they thought it would initially be. They cut around my belly button and made a vertical incision down (six inches) toward my privates. This incision is currently held together by staples.

My doctor said that when they removed the intestine, my grotesquely bloated stomach promptly deflated. My stomach is now a floppy mess. The skin has been pulled out of shape and is puckered – it’ll take me quite a long time to work the muscles back into shape. But I’m not complaining, the problem has been fixed. (I hope).

I remember being buried by blankets when I got back to my room after my surgery. In fact, they had even wrapped a blanket around my head like a hood I was shivering so fiercely. I also remember frantically pushing my pain button, though nothing happened. They had me on a PCA (patient-controlled analgesia) which meant I could control how and when I received any pain killer, but it was only programmed to allow me dosages every ten minutes, so I could push away but nothing would happen unless it was time for another dosage.

I also remember opening my eyes and seeing Kevin, but I couldn’t focus on him and that worried me. I saw him, but I couldn’t pinpoint him, my eyes would flicker upward and refused to remain constant. I tried not to freak out about that, thinking it was probably just the anesthesia but it was weird. I was in and out of consciousness for quite some time, but finally, after about 30 minutes of being back in my room, I started to come around.

The pain took my breath away. It was a biting pain, like an animal was ripping chunks of flesh off my body. It didn’t seem like it took that long to get a handle on the pain, but until then, I couldn’t even think straight. I don’t remember much about the rest of that night … and it’s probably a good thing.

Recovering – Christmas Eve

I felt better. And by better I mean, I was conscious and aware of my surroundings. They had had to put a catheter in me, which was very inconvenient considering my period was flowing heavily by this time and the only way I could control it was to insert a tampon (again, TMI, sorry, but I want to remember this because … wow). So, I had a tampon AND a catheter tube in my lady parts to deal with. Talk about uncomfortable. The nurses didn’t exactly want me to do that, they would have preferred I stick to pads, but I was flowing so heavily that I was making messes and it was seriously stressing me out and I didn’t need anymore stress at that time, so I just dealt with it.

The menstrual cramps, coupled with the cramps of having abdominal surgery, were nearly unbearable. I was hooked up to my pain meds, but I hesitated to use them. Pain meds cause constipation and I was terrified that after going through all of that, I STILL wouldn’t be able to go to the restroom, I didn’t push my button unless I was dying.

The nurses called my doctor – who was off for the holidays, so they called the doctor on call, who didn’t know me and who took forever to respond and the stuff they gave me? Didn’t even work that great; I still ended up pushing my pain button, but at least it finally gave me some relief.

I spent the entire day after surgery trying to find my comfort level. It was a balance act between tolerable and dying. One of the worst parts was getting up and moving around. UGH. It was hard. My body was stiff and my staples felt tight and sharp, but I made the effort. In fact, I spent a good deal of my energy on fooling the nurses into thinking I was doing better than I really was.

I was on a mission to get home as quickly as possible and I knew the only way to make that happen was to push myself – and I did indeed push myself and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

I laid in my bed Christmas Eve day and tried not to think of my guys at a family get together having fun. Kevin’s family is literally spread all over the world and everyone had made it back for Christmas – everyone was there, except for me. I called Kevin and I could hear them having fun in the background, they were just finishing up the gift exchange game, and I tried not to cry.

By the time evening rolled around, the hospital floored had cleared out. I slowly walked around the floor and several of the rooms were completely empty. There was nary an alarm going off. The phones were silent. Everything was quiet. It was both peaceful and depressing.

The hospital is no place to be during the holidays.

I was in bed Christmas Eve when I heard singing. It was “O Holy Night” and it was being sung by a group of volunteers that were walking the hallways singing Christmas Carols. It was absolutely beautiful and the thought of those kind people, sacrificing their time to volunteer and cheer people up at the hospital with their songs still makes me cry. It was wonderful.

My guys came up to see me that night and we all sat around and watched old Christmas movies on TV. My room mate had left by that time so we had the room to ourselves. It was cozy, if not a little sad. I felt really bad for the boys – we had all decided to wait to do Christmas when I got home and I knew Christmas day would be just as depressing for them as it would be for me, too.

(… to be continued)

Abundant Life

Audio Teaching: Proverbs: Running for the Prize

by John Schoenheit
What value is there in really working hard for the Lord and striving to obey Him? Why not just get saved and then do what’s convenient and comfortable? This teaching clearly sets forth the difference between salvation and the rewards that Christ will give to those believers who have earned them. It also suggests what some of those rewards may be and teaches why the subject of future rewards is so misunderstood in most churches today. We believe it will help to motivate you to more diligently and enthusiastically walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Abundant Life

Teaching: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones to Success (Part 2)

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

[The following article is an edited transcription of the June 2005 Tape/CD of the Month, Failing Forward by Dan Gallagher.]

Another lesson that we can take away from God’s Word is that the Bible really is a book about losers. Again, I am not trying to be sacrilegious here! It is however a book about losers. Some of those losers stay losers. Some of the winners become losers, but some of the losers have become great winners. That is what we want to look at.

Let’s look at some of the records of the men and women of the Bible and see specific examples from their lives what we can glean—examples of how to fail forward. Genesis 37 is about Joseph and his brothers.

Genesis 37:19 and 20
(19) “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other.
(20) “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”

Can you imagine? I cannot. I have seven brothers and sisters. I was raised in a great family, and all of my brothers and sisters loved each other a lot. We still do. We fight for each other. I cannot imagine how my heart would be pained to think about how my brothers or sisters would be, not only jealous of me or want to do me harm, but that they would want to kill me. Fortunately, because of Reuben’s intervention, they merely threw him in a cistern and sold him off to slavery. Now, that is a little bit of a defeat. That is a little adversity. I do not think that many of us can say that we have endured that type of thing.

Genesis 37:23 and 24
(23) So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe– the richly ornamented robe he was wearing—
(24) and they took him and threw him into the cistern.

Shortly there after along comes a Midian caravan. They pull Joseph out and sell him into slavery with the intent that they would never see their brother again. Joseph’s heart must have been broken knowing that God had called him. Joseph had dreams. He had revelations. God had revealed to him prophetic images of what his life was supposed to mean. This one certainly was not lining up to it—in chains and shackles, being led away by a Midian caravan off to Egypt. Shortly after arriving in Egypt, he is sold. He ends up working for a man named Potiphar. Everything seems to be going well, and he is elevated to the head of Potiphar’s household. This is not bad for a slave, but still it is something that I would not consider as the ideal life, nor do I think you would either, but Joseph was doing the best that he could. He was trying to fail forward.

In Genesis 39, Potiphar’s wife comes along and falsely accuses Joseph of trying to seduce or rape her.

Genesis 39:19 and 20
(19) When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger.
(20) Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.

Again, this is another defeat, more adversity. What a horrific way to live life. First as a slave, and not only that, now you are falsely accused and thrown into prison.

Joseph spends quite a bit of time in prison, and along comes a couple of the Pharaoh’s servants, the chief cupbearer and the baker. They are thrown into prison with him.

Not only was Joseph thrown into prison, and yes, he does get elevated in prison, but while he is in prison, he gives the interpretation of two dreams, and all he asked of these two men is, “Just don’t forget me. When you get out and you are restored to your position, don’t forget me.”

Genesis 40:23
The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

Genesis 41:1
When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream:

Well, I really think that after two years have gone by that this is considered forgetting this poor guy Joseph. This is not some “club fed.” This is the most wretched place on the earth. It is a pit. It is filled with vermin and feces. It is a hole in the ground even though Joseph may be the head of the dung heap. Two years go by, and Joseph still has a great attitude.

You know this story. Joseph goes from being a prisoner to being the second in command of all of Egypt – all in the very same day. I want you to see Joseph’s perspective because this is powerful.

Genesis 45:1-3
(1) Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers.
(2) And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
(3) Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

At this point, Joseph’s brothers had no idea who this Egyptian standing before them was.

Genesis 45:4 and 5
(4) Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!
(5) And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

What a perspective! That was a man who learned to fail forward.

Genesis 45:6 and 7
(6) For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping.
(7) But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

That is failing forward. What a wonderful example that Joseph gives us. I think God wants us to take away a lesson. He wants us to know that no matter what we are handed in life, we can fail forward because God is always working in all situations for our good (Rom. 8:28).

One of the greatest problems that people have with failure is that they are too quick to judge isolated situations in their lives and label them as failures. You have to realize that failure is the price that you will pay for success. Only one real definition of failure exists. Albert Hubbard once said, “A failure is a man or woman who has blundered but is not able to cash in on his experience.” What you have to tell yourself is not that you are a failure but that you merely failed at doing something. A big difference exists between these two.

In Joshua 2:1 we see the story of Rahab:

Joshua 2:1
Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

This is a prostitute, a woman of ill repute. It is still the same as what prostitutes are today. They sell their bodies. This is a woman who is a prostitute, and this is where the spies go to live. That is not the end of the record concerning Rahab. In Matthew 1:5 and 6 is the record of Jesus Christ’s lineage.

Matthew 1:5 and 6
(5) Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse,
(6) and Jesse the father of King David.

Because of her righteous act, Rahab the prostitute, is in the Christ line. That is what I would consider as the proper perspective, not that this woman was the prostitute. That may have been where she mentally lived, but from God’s perspective, because of Rahab’s righteous acts, God included here in the lineage of Jesus Christ.

James 2:25
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

That is failing forward. Do not let isolated situations define you as being a failure. Do not be too quick to judge. Let us not be too quick to judge Rahab because God’s perspective was not that she was a prostitute but because of the righteous act that she did, she is considered righteous, for she is included in the Christ line.

You read the rest of the article here.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

(Comments have been turned off. The information is here to inform and bless you. God granted you the gift of free will – take it or leave it).

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Life

Working on Those Intestinal Issues

Hospital 12-18-10

So. I’m in the hospital right now. I’m physically comfortable (somewhat) for the first time in a few months – I can’t tell you what a relief THAT is. (Don’t ever take your physical comfort for granted, trust me).

I’ll tell you right now that this post is going to be too much information, so I apologize in advance if it makes you cringe. But this is what is going on with me and maybe it’ll help someone in a similar situation.

It all began last week … about Tuesday, I think. I’ve mentioned several times on this blog before that I’ve had intestinal issues on and off for several years now. I usually just ride out the discomfort until things get back to normal.

I had every intention of riding this last bout out too, but this last bout was unusual in that it was a lot more painful and it just wouldn’t go away.

Finally, I couldn’t handle the pain anymore – it was becoming unbearable. The question was – walk-in clinic, or the ER?

Kevin and I weighed our options, talked it over and then finally decided to go to the walk-in clinic thinking if it was easily fixable I would get in and out A LOT quicker and it would be A LOT cheaper than if I went to the hospital.

I was seen right away. I told them that I was feeling a lot of painful pressure in my abdomen and that I hadn’t had a bowel movement in several days. My stomach was also severely distended – I looked six months pregnant, that’s how bad it was.

In fact, if I hadn’t been feeling so bad, it would have amused me the number of times people kept asking me, “Are you SURE you’re not pregnant?” Because honestly, I really looked it.

The doctor treated me with indifference. He wasn’t rude, just sort of bored and indifferent. I didn’t care at that point, I just wanted relief. They did an x-ray, then about five minutes later, wanted to do another x-ray.

Kevin had to take off, he was meeting his landlord for his new office (more on that in another post), but we both knew if they wanted to take another x-ray, this wasn’t as cut and dried as they thought it was.

I went back to the exam room and in five minutes, they called for me. The doctor that saw me was standing with another doctor and both were shaking their heads and whispering while looking at what I presumed were my x-rays.

I started to get nervous.

They showed me my x-rays and I’ll tell ya folks, I could tell they were a mess the moment I laid eyes on them. I had a TON of packed fecal matter along with MASSIVE gas bubbles completely clogging my large intestine.

It didn’t look good.

The doctor was no longer bored and indifferent, he was quite serious and a bit more animated. He told me they didn’t have the equipment necessary to help there and that he recommended I go to the ER as in NOW.

They burned copies of the x-rays onto a disk and I left.

I went home. I wasn’t going to no stinkin’ hospital!

HA! Just kidding. I’m stubborn but not stupid.

I told the boys what was going on (Kevin was still at his meeting – we had taken separate cars), then started packing an overnight case (or in my case, a loaded up a Wal-Mart bag), just in case I had to stay overnight. I called Kevin and waited for him to come home so he could drive me to the ER.

The clinic had called ahead so the hospital was expecting me. That was nice as I didn’t have to wait six hours to be seen (actually, in all fairness, the ER wasn’t even that busy so I was able to get in right away anyway).

They showed me to a room, had me strip down and don the humiliating hospital gown and gave me an iodine drink to prep me for the CT scan. (The iodine marks a path and makes reading a CT scan easier).

After waiting an hour after drinking the iodine, they wheeled me down for the scan.

Since they were taking a good look at my intestines, they had to inject more dye into my, erhm, lady hole while I laid on my back with my arms over my head. I was slid into the machine and told to hold my breath while they took some pictures. After that was done, I was wheeled back to my room in the ER to await the results.

About another hour later (WHY does everything take so long in the hospital), the ER doctor came in to tell me they were going to send me home. He said some other things but honestly, I was so shocked that they were going to send me home that I sort of tuned out the rest of what he was saying.

Fortunately, another doctor had also looked at my CT scans and he noticed that not only was my large intestine overly swollen, but that it also narrowed at one point and they were concerned about that narrowing.

He vetoed the other doctor’s orders and they admitted me.

(Kevin and I STILL can’t believe that doctor was going to send us home. I mean .. HELLO?!? I’m six months pregnant and writhing in pain, SOMETHING is wrong with this picture, dude!)

My room was cramped and I had a roommate. She was recovering from her own surgery (she had had to have 10 inches of her intestine removed due to infection!) and was on the road to recovery. I’m afraid I wasn’t a very good roommate – I was in so much pain I couldn’t think straight let alone carry on a conversation. They finally gave me some morphine and OMG, I was pain free and actually comfortable for the first time in WEEKS. I immediately went to sleep. I wasn’t allowed to drink or eat anything and only relied on ice chips to quench my thirst.

The doctor came in and told me that they were going to have to do a colonoscopy so they could get a better look at the narrowing in my intestine. They wheeled me down to do the procedure.

I was nervous, but honestly, I just wanted them to fix whatever was going on with me – screw being embarrassed about a roomful of strangers getting a good look at my lady hole.

And as if getting a colonoscopy wasn’t embarrassing enough, I recognized one of the nurses – she had helped Kevin when he was in the hospital recovering from his motorcycle accident. She didn’t recognize me at first, but when I told her about Kevin, she remembered him and we chit-chatted for a little while.

And the whole time I was thinking, “THIS ISN’T AWKWARD. Nope, not at all.”

They had me lay on my side, injected some sleepy juice into my IV and before I could ask her what it was, I was out. The next thing I remember I was waking up in my room and seeing Kevin sitting in the chair opposite the bed. I remember saying, “Oh look! I’m back in my room,” but Kevin said I told him about seeing that nurse that had taken care of him about five times before that – I have no recollection of doing that. He said that I would recount the story, then pause for a few minutes, and then repeat the story again. He said the last time I told him about seeing the nurse, he responded with a, “Yeah, I know,” and I acted totally surprised that he knew the outcome of the story and said, “how did you know that!”

I bet my roommate had a good laugh.

I also apparently sang, “Born Free!”

I think he’s lying about that part, but who knows, I WAS grateful that I wasn’t feeling any more pressure, that’s for sure.

In addition to sucking out the gas and cleaning out as much of the fecal matter than he could, they found that my intestine had twisted. The doctor illustrated it by comparing it to one of the long balloons that party clowns use to make party animals out of it – you know, that twist in the animals. He opened up the twist, put in a stint and that was going to serve as my short-term solution until we could schedule a time I could come back in to get that twisted part cut out of my intestine and they would sew the portions back together again.

I was sort of relieved that it was something physical and simply not a diet issue, which would have been a little harder to control, I’m sure. I was also relieved to find out that it wasn’t a tumor or anything more serious as well.

They wouldn’t give me any more morphine. Apparently, my blood pressure went up while I was on it and they thought there was some correlation between the morphine and the pressure, so they gave me some sort of pain killer with Benedryl in it. It made me extremely sleepy and I slept like the dead for two hours before waking up with a headache from hell.

I knew the headache was either from my sinuses or a caffeine withdrawal (because I hadn’t had any coffee in a few days). But the staff wouldn’t give me anything but extra-strength Tylenol which did absolutely nothing for my headache and it went on so long that I did what I always do when I don’t get a handle on my headaches – I vomited. Multiple times. Only they were dry heaves because I had absolutely nothing in my stomach, not even water.

It was painful and quite frustrating, but at least it would serve to relieve the pressure from my head for a little while before the cycle started all over again.

To say I had a rough night that first night would be putting it mildly.

Finally I had had enough. I asked Kevin to bring me some Aleve D from home and I took it. (I refused to take anymore of the Benedryl and the blood thinner they kept INSISTING was necessary and which I kept INSISTING was not [I had only been in bed for a day, I couldn’t possibly have been a blood clot risk at that point] and since I wasn’t on any other medications, I knew it would be safe to take the Aleve).

The nurses were NOT happy with me when they found out I had taken an Aleve. They hurriedly told the doctor who “approved” the medicine and they were able to add it to the orders. I know I probably shouldn’t have done that, but I was desperate and what sort of hospital doesn’t carry something with Pseudoephedrine – I mean seriously).

Even though the Aleve made my headache less intense, it didn’t get rid of it and I continued to vomit. I then knew it had to be caffeine withdrawal and I took a couple of Excedrin Migraine, again knowing that I wasn’t taking any other sort of complicated medications that it would have an adverse reaction to.

It worked. My headache from hell FINALLY went away.

I never told the nurses about taking the Excedrin. And I know, I sort of suck as a patient – refusing medicines I don’t think I need (they kept trying to give me anti-nausea medicine, too – which didn’t work, I might add) and taking unauthorized medicines, but dang it people, I know my body and what it needs. Again, I wouldn’t have done any of that if I had been on anything with an unpronounceable name without first checking with the nurses.

I had to stay another night. I’m not sure why, if you want the truth, but before they would release me the next day, I had had to have a bowel movement – which I couldn’t do. I just couldn’t do it. Nothing would come out.

They made me drink a large bottle of some sickly sweet magnesium concoction, which after waiting for an hour didn’t produce anything. Then I had to have an enema – clear. Then they made me take some laxatives – no go. And last but not least, they made me drink prune juice followed by a hot tea.

Still … nothing. I did produce clear muscusy-looking stuff, but no poo. Finally, they gave up on me and discharged me. They were supposed to send someone to me and wheel me out, but I saw Kevin drive up to pick me up and I got impatient and walked out.

I KNOW! I’m a terrible patient!!

Monday night, Jazz had his Christmas, oops, excuse me, HOLIDAY concert at school. I wanted to go, but I was physically MISERABLE! I had so much stuff in me and SO MUCH PRESSURE that I seriously thought I was going to explode (and coincidentally, nothing ever came out). However, I decided to go at the last minute and I’m glad I did. He played a solo in one of the songs and when it was over he made an effort to find me, Kevin and Dude in the crowd and I gave him a big thumbs up. He smiled and that moment was worth all of the physical discomfort.

I felt a little better on Tuesday – all of that stuff had worked it’s way through my system, but by Tuesday night, I was doubled over in pain once again. I still hadn’t had a BM or had passed any gas and I was in serious pain.

Kevin suggested I use a heating pad, which helped A LOT, but only if I kept it there, which meant I spent most of the day Tuesday flat on my back with a heating pad pressed to my belly.

We talked about going back to the doctor on Wednesday but he left the ultimate decision up to me.

Tuesday was another rough day and we decided I really needed to go back to the ER. I had called the office of the doctor who had worked on me in the hospital, but they just told me that if I was having difficulty, to go back to the ER.

So, that’s what we did.

Kevin dropped me off at 7:30 this morning and then left to take the boys to school and get some stuff done.

They took more x-rays of me, saw that my x-rays looked exactly as they had when I was admitted the first time and promptly admitted me. They were telling me that the poo in my intestines (and there was still a significant amount) had likely impacted, which meant they had attached to my intestinal wall.

NOT GOOD.

They promptly gave me another colonoscopy, only it wasn’t a colonoscopy, it was a flexi-scope which in essence is a little more detailed than a colonoscopy and inserted a rectal tube to help drain the BM and expel the gas. (See? TMI!!!)

So, here I sit. In my new hospital room (which I like better because it’s a bit bigger than my last one) watching TV with my new roomie, who is a sweet, spunky old woman, waiting to see the doctor so I can find out when my surgery will be scheduled.

Because apparently, they aren’t releasing me this time until this problem has been fixed. I’ve sort of reached emergency status, I guess.

It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be THAT big of a deal, but you know any surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’m really bummed that it looks like I will likely be in the hospital over Christmas but I’m optimistic, if they perform the surgery tomorrow, maybe I can go home Friday night??

We’ll see.

At any rate, we may have to postpone Christmas until I get home. But my guys are cool with that – they will just be relieved to see me back to normal and not doubled over with pain.

So. I’m BACK in the hospital right now but BACK on the road to getting better.

Finally – my intestinal issues will FINALLY be resolved. Thank God.

UPDATED: I just talked to the doctor – I’m scheduled to have surgery tomorrow around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Since this is an emergency and they haven’t had a chance to completely clean me out, they will have to cut a little more than they had anticipated, which means it will take me a little longer to recover. They will not release me until I’ve had a BM and everything seems to be back to normal which means I likely won’t get to go home until next Tuesday!!! I’m going to miss Christmas!! I can’t tell you how bummed about this I am! My guys want to postpone Christmas until I get home, but we might celebrate in my room if my roomie is gone by then, we’ll see. At any rate, this is going to be a really weird holiday, that’s for sure. Wah!

Abundant Life

Audio Teaching: Women: Man’s View or God’s View?

by Sue Carlson
This sequel to The Role of Women in the Church (Mar/Apr ’96) and The Role of Women in the Church – 2 (May/Jun ’01) clarifies 3 challenging sections of Scripture. First, it explains 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, which is a challenging section of Scripture about headship, men and women, and customs in a worship service. Second, it explains 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, which, as it is commonly translated, seems to indicate that women should not speak in a church service. Thirdly, it delves into the concepts of headship and submission of Ephesians 5:22-33. The teaching closes with an overview of Esther, a captivating woman whose courage saved the Israelites from destruction during their captivity in Persia. This teaching is a powerful encouragement to women who have doubted God’s calling because of false interpretations of difficult passages of Scripture.

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Handout | Transcription | Related Topic

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Abundant Life

Teaching: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones to Success (Part 1)

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

[The following article is an edited transcription of the June 2005 Tape/CD of the Month, Failing Forward by Dan Gallagher.]

It is my privilege to bring you this teaching which I have titled Failing Forward and subtitled Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones to Success. It was a number of years ago that I read a book by the author John Maxwell, and John’s book was titled Failing Forward. John’s pretty articulate, and he gave me a lot of inspiration to go the Word of God over the last few years to see what God has on the subject of failure and success and to see specifically if I can find examples from the Bible on Failing Forward. One of the points that John makes is that people in our society are always training for success, when really what we should be doing is training our young people on how to fail.

You see, failure is a lot more common than success. If people do not know how to fail properly and if they do not know how to fail forward, then they will never be able to reap the success that they really desire. You can be a winner in many ways, but you can only be a loser in one way—that is to fail and not look beyond the failure. One of the greatest problems that people have with failure is that they are too quick to judge isolated situations in their lives and then label them as failures. We are too quick to look at something when we are given some adversity or defeat and then give up. In fact, failing is really a gift if we can learn to have the proper perspective on it.

Why would I be qualified to do this teaching?

Well, I am not qualified because I am not necessarily a great success. I have to be honest with you; I am qualified because I have failed miserably in life. I have failed at marriage. I have made many mistakes as a father. I have failed in friendships, and I have failed in being a friend. I have failed in businesses. One time, I had a very successful construction company, and I lost it. I have failed in ministry. I have been kicked out of a leadership program, and I walked away from another, but I am qualified to do this teaching because in spite of those failures, in spite of those defeats, in spite of the adversity that I have been confronted with, I have learned how to succeed in marriage.

In fact, my wonderful wife, Lori, and I are in our fifteenth year of marriage. I have also learned how to succeed in being a loving husband and how to be a good father and hopefully how to be a great grandparent. I am now succeeding in friendships, and I have succeeded in business and hopefully now in ministry. Why? I have succeeded because I have learned the lesson of failing forward. That is why I am doing this teaching, because I want to inspire you. I want to encourage you. I want you to have hope and learn how to fail forward.

I am going to cover five different areas.

1) We are going to examine God’s Word to gain a biblical perspective on this subject. What does God have to say about failing, and does He have anything to say about failing forward? I think that you are going to be thrilled and exhilarated about what God has to say on this subject. Also, what does God have to say about success? I think that we need to have a biblical perspective on that as well.

2) We are going to review records of men and women in the Bible to see what lessons we can learn from their lives. We will look at lessons about how some have failed forward and some have not.

3) We will examine what God has to say about a few things pertaining to success; specifically, things that we may not in our modern/post-modern culture define as successful. I do believe that we need to go back to God’s Word and see how He defines it.

4) We will examine some common failure myths and become myth busters.

5) We will look at some keys to learn how to fail forward.

Something that I realized as I began to examine the Word of God is that I believe that God gave me the perspective that really His book, the Bible, is a story of failure. I am not trying to be blasphemous here. See, God has not always been successful, but one of the lessons that I believe that He wants us to see is that He knows how to turn His defeats and losses into successes. Consider for a moment Lucifer, the bright and morning star, the supreme angelic being, and one of the pinnacles of God’s creation. What does Lucifer do? He turns on God. He rejects God, and he leads open rebellion in the heavens against God. I would not consider that too much of a success story, and I am sure that you do not either. How about God’s first attempt for a family, Adam and Eve? God creates the heavens and the earth and all that we see—the skies above, the stars, the moon. He puts everything here for man’s provision. To provide for him and to show His loving concern for man. What does man do? Given a little bit of temptation, man rejects the Word of God and does not trust God. Man turns and walks away from God. Well, that is two strikes. Again, I do not consider that too much of a success story. In fact, I consider that a pretty big failure. God does not say, “That is it. I am going to take my ball and go home. I am not playing with you anymore.” No, he does not. He immediately sets in play the moves to start the redemption of mankind. God, in Genesis 3:15, describes the coming of the Savior. God begins to fail forward. He takes the failure that Lucifer has handed Him, and He begins to play forward. He begins to learn from what He has been dealt, and He moves it forward.

You see, when it comes to failing, we need to change our perspective. It is perspective that leads to perseverance. Perseverance brings longevity, and longevity brings increased opportunities for success. That is what failing forward is. Most of us are given some adversity or defeat, and we think that is the end of the game. But the fact is that if we are going to continue to press forward, when we get the defeat, when we are hit with adversity, if we will learn to fail forward, we will increase our opportunities for success.

That is what the lesson is about in this teaching.

Let’s take a look at a beautiful record of what God says about failing.

Proverbs 24:15 and 16
(15) Do not lie in wait like an outlaw against a righteous man’s house, do not raid His Dwelling place;
(16) for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.

Again, how many times does a righteous man fall? He falls seven times; he rises again. That is the lesson of Scripture. That is what God wants us to take away—that a righteous man, when he falls, he gets up again. You know the number seven, in the Bible, means spiritual perfection or completeness. Every time you fall, the righteous man gets up. That is the lesson that God wants us to take away. We are going to fall. We are going to trip. We are going to stumble, but when we do, we need to get up, and we need to move on again. That is what a righteous man does.

You read the rest of the article here.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

(Comments have been turned off. The information is here to inform and bless you. God granted you the gift of free will – take it or leave it).

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Life

What Exactly Makes a Person Smart?

How exactly do YOU define intelligence?

I was listening to talk radio today (*gasp*) and the subject of intelligence came up.

What exactly makes a person smart?

Is a person smart if he/she believes or supports something that is wrong? (Which begs the question, what is the definition of wrong? And what’s wrong for one person isn’t wrong for another person).

Is a person smart if he/she uses big words? Or can articulate an argument? Perhaps a person is smart if he/she has an expensive degree from a well-known university.

Does being smart mean one can regurgitate facts, figures, passages? Does being smart mean being a good public speaker, or having the ability to convince normally rational, down-to-earth people to elect someone foolish? (*Cough-Obama-Cough*)

What exactly is the definition of smart?

When someone calls someone “smart”, exactly what are they referring to? The way they’re dressed? Their demeanor? Their speech? Their grammar?

What?

I always wonder exactly what people mean when they call someone smart and always want to ask them to clarify the label; be specific, what exactly makes them smart?

I think a lot of people have smart MOMENTS. They APPEAR smart on the surface, but when you take away their self-imposed script, when you remove their talking points, they really don’t know what they’re talking about at all.

I think people make smart STATEMENTS, but when you ask them to clarify their arguments they choose to deflect the argument or answer questions with questions of their own – smart people answer questions because they CAN.

Once again, I think people, in general, are too willing to slap a smart label on someone without really checking to make sure they really know what they’re talking about.

Just look at the people in Congress right now. Listen to some of the stupid things they say, with a straight face, and who have no clue that what they said made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

What alarms me even more is that people don’t even RECOGNIZE that what was said didn’t make sense – they simply nod their heads in dumb agreement and accept it as fact.

And I’m talking about everyone, not just a certain party who shall remain nameless (but starts with a “D” and has the word DEMO in it).

My motto? ALWAYS QUESTION AUTHORITY. Don’t just take what someone says at face value, dig a little, educate yourself on both sides of the issue and then make your own informed decision on who is right and who is completely out of their mind.

What to know how I define a smart person? (Too bad, it’s my blog – neener, neener):

Someone who is educated, has common sense, is willing to ask questions and then listen to the answers, who has a strong emotional base and who controls his/her emotions and does not cave to emotional bias before coming to a conclusion and someone who can empathize with a person or situation without allowing that empathy to sway the outcome of the problem.

To me, being smart means balancing all of the above. I realize that’s a tall order, but it’s not impossible.

A smart person has the ability to look at all sides of an issue and then come to a rational, and logical, conclusion. Sometimes those conclusions are not popular, but they are sincere and often times right.

I think smart people have the ability to distance themselves from the issue at hand in order to give themselves a chance to look at the situation with an impartial eye. Smart people are not afraid of humility and have the strength of character to admit when they are wrong. Smart people are emotionally mature.

Smart people do not resort to name calling and insults during a debate or automatically assume that if someone disagrees with them, they are “trolls.”

Merriam Webster defines smart as:

mentally alert, bright, knowledgeable, shrewd

I think being “smart” actually means so much more.

random stuff

How to Be Alone

I know this time of year can be very painful for some people – loss of a loved one, no significant other … broken hearts, raw emotions.

Being alone is never easy – it’s nearly unbearable around the holidays.

Please know that you’re not REALLY alone, I’m there with you right now because you’re reading this. There is a whole world out there just waiting to see you – if you will only be willing to be seen.

I hope this video helps you feel better about being alone. Because even though being with family, with that special someone is great, being alone can be a welcome relief, too.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends.

Christmas song #17 Please Come Home for Christmas by Harry Connick Jr.