Faced with a Life or Death Decision

A flood of fresh tears flowed as I thumbed through the twenty-eight page  document.  The Medicare “Summary Notice” coldly spelled out the amounts paid to the mile-long list of medical providers.   I couldn’t help but re-live the experience of dad’s final days as I moved chronologically through the papers.  The final ER visit.  Multiple blood draws.  An electrocardiogram.  Numerous ex-rays and a CT scan.  The chest tap and chest tube. The ambulance ride back to the nursing home.  The physician’s final visits.

Perhaps what stood out most was the ER doctor’s description: “Emergency department visit, problem with significant threat to life or function.”

ER signDad was, indeed, gravely ill when he landed in the emergency room in mid-November.  His white blood-cell count was sky-high, indicating something was seriously wrong.  When I arrived at his bedside, I couldn’t help but look at his frail body and think that we might not be there had it not been for a snap decision made by a physician a month earlier. Continue reading “Faced with a Life or Death Decision”

An Open Door for the Gospel

Profanity and raucous laughter shot through my bedroom floor. I prayed for relief from the noise downstairs. “Who is this neighbor, anyway?” I wondered.

The next day I sensed God nudging me to find out.  In the summer heat of southern Oregon, my neighbor had his front door open.  As I approached, the middle-aged man inside looked up from his TV set. A half-empty liquor bottle rested beside him.

“Hi,” I said cheerily through the screen door.

“Hello,” the man replied. “I’m Cole. You must be the gal who lives upstairs.”

“That’s right, I’m  Jane.  I’m working in the area this summer doing my college internship as a park ranger.”

As our conversation in the doorway progressed, Cole asked, “What do you like to read?”

“The Bible,” I ventured timidly. Cole’s eyes widened. “I want to talk with you about that sometime.”

My heart surged as I realized God was providing me with someone who was open to hearing about the good news of Jesus Christ.

But back in my apartment a cloud of doubt rushed in. I was no Biblical expert, and only three weeks remained before it was time to go back to college. How could I make a difference in such a short time? Continue reading “An Open Door for the Gospel”

Curling Irons and Grace

thMSC4O6C5It had been a bad hair week.  My curling iron was on the fritz and I had suffered the indignity of flat hair for several days.  Mission number one?  To buy a new hair appliance at the local drugstore.

I drove in early Saturday morning, sure to miss the crowds.  As I expected, the store was virtually empty.  I barely noticed the woman and her daughter who entered just behind me.  Making a beeline to the hair care aisle, I no sooner had began to survey the very sparse selection of curling irons when I realized the pair were on the same mission.

They sidled in from the left, and I kindly moved to my right.  But my attitude quickly changed as they began reaching for the very last curling iron in the size I wanted.  “I WAS HERE FIRST!!!”  I internally screamed.  “That curling iron should be MINE,” I seethed silently.  Thankfully, they put “my” curling iron back on its hook and moved down the aisle.  I snatched it quickly before someone else could. Continue reading “Curling Irons and Grace”

The Ultimate Cure for Perfectionism

I’m my own worst critic. Part of the problem is that I’m there to witness every one of my mistakes! Sometimes I attempt something and fail to perform as well as I think I could have. Other times I berate myself because I think I should have done something but didn’t even try. Either way, I am well-acquainted with that voice in my head that loves to remind me that I’ve fallen short.

th[10]That pesky internal companion has pressured me to perform “perfectly” since I was very young. As a child, I was driven to get straight A’s. My parents never overtly demanded honor roll achievement. Yet looking back, I recognize that they were perfectionists in their own right, whether it was striving for flawless Christian behavior, plowing the straightest corn rows, or keeping an immaculate house. I definitely inherited the perfectionist gene. Continue reading “The Ultimate Cure for Perfectionism”