Friday, February 22, 2008

Let's Get Together... yeah yeah yeah...

I've been thinking a lot about community lately. As we were getting ready for cell group the other night, the word just kept running through my mind. And I was sort of like "yeah, duh.... this is why we do cell group"... but I think it's bigger than that.

This morning this song has been going through my head - and no, I'm not crazy... I just happened to watch the original Disney Classic... Parent Trap ... like a million times when I was growing up. There's a part toward the end where the twins sing this song:
Let's get together... yeah yeah yeah
Think of all that we could share
Let's get together, everyday
Everyway and everywhere
And though we haven't got a lot
We could be sharing all we've got

So, here it is: Some of my friends and I have been reading New Testament letters from Paul to various churches, and one of his overriding themes is getting along with other believers, and being united in purpose.
A lot of times, we find our own agenda - become obsessed with some other pursuit and step on, over and around all other family members who find themselves in our way. Unfortunately, that's not the way we're supposed to move forward. We need each other. We need the gifts our other family members have, and we need more than one perspective on things. We need the love and support that comes from living in community with others.

You may be called to feed the poor, or seek out the lost, pour yourself out for the "least of these" - all are completely true (we're all called to these pursuits) - but in seeking those opportunities, or finding them all around you - you cannot separate from the body.

Supporting each other in love and prayer is part of being a part of the family - and allowing people in on your visions, ministry opportunities and goals is also part of being a family. One with out the other is lopsided, and unhealthy.

Obviously, this isn't and hasn't been an easy thing for centuries, the way Paul talks to those New Testament churches, you'd think they really struggled with just "getting along"... and I think that's not really that far off from where we are.

Community is the relational, physical way we can participate in this sometimes complex concept of "the body of Christ". We cannot stand alone - we were never called to. We're attached to each other, so we might as well join forces and actually move toward the same goal. If one eye is looking east and the other west... how does the knee know where to go?

So, here's to community! Gather your family close to you - unite in purpose. Without a united front, we are weak and open for attack.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Old Faithfulness

I've really been lazy about blogging lately, partly because I have 3 kids running around, and partly because my wrist has been sore. As I type that I realize that I have really left this blog untouched since November or so? So, here's some quick catching up, so we can get on to big things!
The first week of December I participated in a holiday market at Flying M Coffeegarage, and had a great time, made some friends and came home with some extra cash.
Week 2 in December, I had a minor "growth" removed from my forearm, and walked out of the office with 3 stitches and a bandage.
Week 3 - loads of Christmas shopping and a Christmas tree!!
Week 4 - Peter's 2nd birthday! Hooray!! so much fun, especially when your kids are old enough to REALLY enjoy it.
Peter got an array of dinosaurs, trucks and snakes, so he was ecstatic! We ate blue frosted sugar cookie stars and had a blast!

At the end of that week, I got a call from my dermatologist asking me to come in to discuss my pathology results from the biopsy they had taken from my arm. Right away, my stomach sank - they'd never asked me to come in to discuss that sort of thing before - so why now? I asked if it could wait until after Christmas - and they said "no"... they wanted to talk to me within the hour. So, I packed up the kids and Dave left work and met me there. We all sat in this little exam room, wondering what the heck the Dr. needed to talk to me about so urgently.
He apologized profusely about having to talk to us, and for talking to us before Christmas, but felt like we should know what was going on.... *hearts beating....*
He said that he had sent my pathology out for it's third opinion, because the first two pathologists had disagreed rather strongly about the results. The first pathologist was certain the biopsy was malignant melanoma... and rather deep, which is super dangerous (apparently). He said with this type of melanoma, and how deep it is, we would need to operate soon, and take a large amount of flesh and probably result in a skin graft. After which, we would start searching the rest of my body for signs that it had spread, starting with my lymph nodes etc. He said the second pathologist was certain that it was not melanoma, but a lesion called spitz nevus (a completely benign lesion, that looks like melanoma). He apologized for giving us this news and kept saying things like "you're so young...." and "I'm so sorry to give you this news". Needless to say, we left his office in a daze. What is going on? This is serious?! And he said we wouldn't hear back on the third pathologist until after Christmas, so we're thinking, "this should be an interesting holiday, with that hanging in the back of our minds".
At the same time, Dave had a conversation with a boss at work, and had been asked if he was interested in a 1st shift position (Mon-Fri 8-5). Of course, he said "yes"... we've been praying about that for years.
That night, our pastor and elders came to our home, anointed me with oil, and we prayed for healing, and peace. When someone gives you news like that it's nearly impossible to not think about what could happen... and the fear associated with all that was overwhelming.
We continued on our routine the next day, trying to not think about what was going on... and staying busy enough to just ignore it. We got a call that evening that the third pathologist concluded that it was NOT melanoma, but the second diagnosis, "spitz nevus". Phew. what a relief. The weird part was that we were still in a daze. We had been hit with some really serious stuff, and it had completely rearranged our life, and what was and wasn't important, in 24 hours... really great. God is so good.

The next week was Christmas, and it was SO much fun. My parents and my brother and sister-in-law and their baby joined us for all the festivities, and it was really great. Great food, fun, and the kids had SO much fun with all the stuff. It was great seeing them enjoying all the fun.

New Year's came bringing David's parents to town for a quick visit. We didn't really "ring in the new year", but it was fun - nonetheless.

On January 9th Dave went back on night shift... the beginning of a four month rotation. He got up for work that day and we decided to go for a drive, so he would wake up, we were on our way to a store so we could walk around, and we put the girls in the car. We came back in to get Peter , and when Dave went back out - Gracie was sitting in the car, covered with blood... huh?! Yeah, apparently there is some very sharp hardware underneath the middle seats, and she managed to smack her forehead on that. She got four stitches, and was quite the trooper.

Dave interviewed for the 1st shift position the next week, and said it was the most relaxed he's ever been in an interview, and most he's ever "sold himself"... he said he talked a LOT in the interview (which is good). It was a panel interview with 4 potential bosses, and had the potential of being nerve-wracking.

In the end, he was the only one who even interviewed for this position, and was offered the job last week (he obviously accepted).

Feb 6 I had follow-up surgery on my arm. As the lesion ended up being benign and called "spitz nevus", the standard procedure is to excise the area around the original lesion - no skin graft was needed, but they did give me a gnarly looking wound, and 24 stitches!

The day David found out he got the job, his Mercedes decided to quit working... an obvious distraction... ended up sort of forcing us to shop around for another vehicle. I was very specific with how much I wanted to pay for one.. so we were looking at a load of used cars. Then we ended up at Bronco Motors (who we've bought our last 2 cars through), and they had a sweet deal on a brand new last year's model Hyundai Accent for 8k... so you can't beat a price like that, on a new car. 35MPG and takes regular unleaded (unlike the Mercedes). So, now Dave has a reliable car to drive to work and back, which is much more efficient, and that's great since he'll be driving out there 5 days a week now.

I got my stitches out yesterday, and all looks good. No more stitches - which makes it so much more bearable. Now, I'm just doing some stretching and keeping my wrist moving, as it became quite stiff and tight, with such a tight wound.

God is good. Life is good. We are good. Dave's job, which we've been praying about for YEARS, is finally coming to the end of him working shifts. He ends up with a promotion and a day job. I don't have cancer!!

Through all those night shifts, and day shifts, and run around at his job, he's finally got the position he really wants, and will be great at. Day shift will be SO great for our family. We keep laughing about how odd it will be for him to be home so early, and how rested he'll be. Dave has been faithful to this job, mostly because he had no choice... he persevered because we had no other options, and now? Yeah, god really blessed us with this perfect job. He has always been really faithful to us. It would have been so easy to let the night shift come between us or mess with our family dynamic... instead - I think, wow, God... you did the impossible!!

More to come... Ella and Gracie have birthdays coming up soon!