Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bringin' it.

Last night it was Jeff's turn to preach at the Community Revival. Let me tell you - He really brought it. He was getting "Amens" left and right. The black preacher behind him was nodding right along. Someone sitting over to my right kept saying "mmhmm....mmhmm." And Jeff really seemed to get into it - he was a little more animated than usual. He even made a joke about being one of "God's frozen Chosen." The crowd really loved it. I loved it. I loved how he still used several scriptures to give a more or less exegetical sermon, and yet it was still very accessible and evangelistic. It really was a pleasure being part of a service that full of so many different types of faces and backgrounds.

An elderly white lady played the keyboard during the service. She really, really tried to do some of the songs slowly, but almost every time by the second verse, she was throwing in these syncopated runs and basically just rocking out. And if you've never seen a big glasses, dyed hair, kulot (sp?) wearing older lady rocking out (and to hymns no less!)- you are definitely missing something.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Revivalling

Last night was the first night of our Community Revival in Cross Hill. It went really well, I thought. Over 135 people showed up, and one of the black Baptist churches was in charge of the preaching and music, and well, they know how to preach their revivals!

Although I think the biggest lesson I learned was from an incident about a minute before the service began. The minister in charge gathered the rest of the pastors and asked us all to take our seats on the stage next to the choir for the service. Well I didn't want to sit on the stage. Actually, I was looking forward to sitting with the congregation and listening to the sermon, something I don't get to do very often. But I begrudgingly went and took my seat on the stage. That's not the way WE do things.

Thankfully, I was almost immediately convicted regarding my pettiness. I almost let something as silly as where I was asked to sit determine my attitude about the value of other churches. Is this not the source of all of our divisions in the church? That we are so focused on our own preferences, be it ever so insignificant an issue, that we would rather split than humble ourselves enough to make room for another person's style?

So while I was theoretically excited about our unity in Christ, I quickly found that in practice it is much more difficult. I get to preach tonight, and no doubt some people will find my style dry and boring. But thankfully we all get four more nights of Community Revival to practice being together. And hopefully with enough practice we can learn that our unity in Christ is more significant than our differences in personality. May it be so.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Revival!!

This week I'll be preaching in a good ol' fashioned big tent revival! Actually, the tent is kinda medium sized, but it will be set up in the city park, and there will be singin' and preachin' and hallelujahin'.

Now, I'm a Presbyterian. And revivals aren't really a part of our tradition. Neither is hallelujahin'. And at first I wasn't too excited about preaching for such an event. But the more I think about it, the more excited I become.

First of all, this is a Community Revival. Its not just put on by one church, but by seven. Seven! Seven different churches have committed to coming together to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in a neutral location to the community of Cross Hill! What's not to like about that? These churches will be Presbyterian, Baptist and Pentecostal all getting together. Moreover they will be white, black and hispanic. All coming together to show that we have "One Lord, one faith, one God and Father of all." Now that's the kind of ecumenicity I can get excited about.

Moreover yet again, they are all coming together out of a desire to reach the lost in our community with the gospel of Jesus. And that is, after all, our church's mission.

So pray for us. We're gonna have five straight nights of evangelistic preaching. (I get to preach on Monday night) Pray that it will indeed be a REVIVAL of our tired hearts, and a sweet DRAWING of sinners to the love of Jesus. Pray that there will be sweet FELLOWSHIP among believers from different churches and different traditions. Pray for the PASTORS to preach clearly and faithfully and pray that the CHURCHES will benefit.

"Pity the nations, O our God,
Constrain the earth to come;
Send Thy victorious Word abroad,
And bring the strangers home.

We long to see Thy churches full,
That all the chosen race
May, with one voice and heart and soul,
Sing Thy redeeming grace."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Feel Good story.

Need a little pick-me-up for today? Check out this story from Sports Illustrated.

A high school senior, the only girl on her high school's track team, won the state team track meet. All by herself. Twice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The magic of facebook.

We recently made a little announcement on facebook. Within 1 minute of Jeff's update, someone had commented on it. Within 3 minutes of my update, several people had commented. Before it was all said and done, over 50 people had commented on my status. I guess when you have very exciting news, people like to respond quickly, but still, I was amazed at how rapidly tons of people left comments.

I guess the moral of the story is that news can spread very, very quickly on facebook. Which is great when you have fun news, and a very good way to let a LOT of people know something.

Maybe not so great, though, if you are prone to the post first, think later mentality.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Our story.

I'm learning how God writes our stories differently. When we were first having trouble getting pregnant, I'd lurk on some of the infertility blogs, reading stories of bad doctors, insensitive family members, treatments successful and treatments failed. Women would write about their "two week wait" and have posts filled with more acronyms than I could keep straight. It was helpful, though, to get an idea about what others have gone through. It was also extremely helpful to find those blogs of other believers, also going through infertility, to see how they dealt with the disappointment, and continued trusting in God's goodness. Often I'd read and see that an infertility blog had become a pregnancy blog and then a parenting blog. Sometimes this happened through treatments, with drugs or IVF, and then there were those others. "Well, we couldn't get pregnant and then suddenly we did, when we weren't trying/taking a break/adopting...." I, of course, kept hoping that maybe that would be our story.

The truth is, though, that I don't think I'd be pregnant right now without the help we got from our doctor. (Acknowledging, of course, that all things are possible with God.) We used some medicine and did IUI (that's intrauterine insemination for those newbies to infertility). I write this because there may be a few readers out there who have also had problems getting pregnant, and I don't want people to think that we just suddenly got pregnant without any help. I also want to write about it because IUI doesn't get nearly as much press as IVF, but definitely does work. In most of the blogs I read, IUI never worked. I was convinced before going into it that it probably wouldn't work.

For a variety of reasons, Jeff and I had decided we wouldn't do IVF, and so IUI was really our only option before adoption. I knew I didn't want to do it more than a few times, although during the month we did it, I was already thinking that I couldn't handle the stress of having to do it all again, if it didn't work. I was very surprised and excited that it worked the first time. We feel incredibly blessed that God used IUI to help us get pregnant. And if anyone has any questions about it, please send me an email.

So, yes, God writes stories differently. But I remain convinced that all things work together for our good, and am still continually reminding myself that "he who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also along with him graciously give us all things."

Friday, September 18, 2009

The best idea in sports. Ever.

So last weekend I was dutifully watching some college football, as any good American citizen is expected to do in the fall. In particular I was rooting on our Gamecocks in a valiantly played game against Georgia. And while watching, I was reminded again of what I think is the best idea ever had in sports. Ever. The penalty box in hockey.

In hockey, when you break one of the rules, you have to sit out for a few minutes and think about what you've done. Not only that, but your team doesn't get to replace you, they have to play shorthanded until your penalty is over, and you're allowed to start playing again. This is not only a wonderfully simple system, but it is just, fair, and righteous. And what's more, its a fairly strong penalty deterrent. If you commit a foul, then the game goes on 5 against 4. Two people commit fouls? The game goes on 5 against 3. Beautiful.

In football, it seems like there is a penalty flag thrown on nearly every play. And the penalties are always too lax. A loss of a few yards here and there, big deal. The number of penalties per game shows that the punishments are not strong enough to encourage people to play more cleanly. My suggestion? The penalty box. Make the offending player sit in a box for a couple of minutes while his team plays shorthanded. I bet that would reduce the number of fouls per game awfully quickly. Which position do you give up if you lose a defender?

Same with basketball, where the loss of a player would really be felt. Its hard to know how this might transfer to baseball, since there are very rarely any penalties in baseball, although if there were, it would be fun to watch a team play with only two outfielders.

Honorable mention for the best idea in sports (and I do mean honorable) is that in golf players call their own penalties on themselves.

Second honorable mention goes to hockey for the Lady Byng trophy. Among other end-of-the-season awards, this one goes to the most gentlemanly player. Despite hockey being known for fighting, at least there is one (more) incentive for clean play.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Final Picture Catch-up.

First, about 8 weeks ago, we saw this....


Then this:

A little bit later there was this:

And this:

And Last week it was this:



I'm now 13 weeks along, due in late March. We feel incredibly blessed, and of course, are very, very excited.

(Working at a doctor's office and knowing how to do ultrasounds definitely comes in handy when you want to see your baby... And yes, I have been doing my own ultrasounds. It's a bit awkward, but I'm getting better.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Birthday Dinner.

Jeff's birthday was yesterday, which I took as an excuse to do a bunch of cooking to make him a fun birthday dinner. It really was delicious. I made these short ribs as a main dish. Short ribs are great, especially for a dinner party because you basically just stick them in the oven and then let them cook a long, long time. You can also make them ahead of time.

For my two sides, I made Ina Garten's orange-honey glazed carrots, always a favorite side. I also made braised leeks, which turned out really well, and a mushroom risotto. For some reason, I had been feeling like making risotto, and a birthday dinner is a great place to make what you feel. We topped it off with some homemade buttermilk honey bread.

For dessert, I made Jeff's favorite birthday cake.

Needless to say, at the end of the day, I was tired from all the cooking and very, very full. But it was all worth it since I love my sweet husband, and I think he had a wonderful day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Answered prayers.

Those of you who know me well know that I have a slight tendency to lose things. (Jeff is now laughing that I wrote "slight".) I was on call the other night and was unable to find my stethoscope, before or after my call. I actually had to replace a stethoscope intern year because I lost it, and let me tell you... those things are not cheap.

This morning, on my way in, when I remembered that my stethoscope was missing, I just said a quick little prayer that my stethoscope would turn up.

I walked into my cube, and sitting right on top of my desk was my stethoscope! It definitely wasn't there when I left work on Friday. So this morning I'm praising God for the little things - like found stethoscopes....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More pictures



The water slide was a big hit...


Yes, that is my baby brother. He loves our nephew. And is very hairy.



More of my favorites....

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Picture catch up #2

So here are some from our trip to Kansas....





Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Picture catch up #1

I am really, really behind on photos. We've been numerous places, done numerous things, and I have posted nary a photo. Since my blogging brain has been a little empty for ideas, I will now attempt to remedy both situations.

First, from our family reunion, back in July...

Caleb does this really cute thing where he turns his head and smiles kind of shyly. I love it. And I love that I caught him doing it.

And Sam. We were sitting by the lake enjoying some very tasty Goldfish.

And the very cute cousins abounded:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Health Care problems.

The real problem with our health care system? And the first thing that should be changed?

Read about it here.

(I'm sure, as a primary care doctor, I'm biased towards agreeing with this article, but never have a seen such a succinct description of what is wrong with our health care system. You really should read it.)

An excerpt:
"It's clear that Medicare and all major insurers place far more relative value on fancy procedures like stents, EKGs, skin biopsies, CT scans, and bowel clean-outs than they do on actual face-to-face time with patients. Procedures, they have decreed, require more mental effort and skill than seeing actual people. The implications are obvious. Just visit any hospital: The dermatology, radiology, and cardiology centers that depend on high-volume, relatively quick procedures have gleaming new facilities, while the primary care and psychiatry clinics languish, since they earn their keep from poorly compensated face-to-face time with patients. And, obviously, specialists make more money than primary care doctors. (Even trainees grasp this; recently, only a single graduating internist out of a class of 50 residents at Massachusetts General Hospital planned to become a primary care doctor.).....Over time, the big-money specialists dominating the AMA have demanded more and more "relative value" for their procedures. Medicare has rolled over and complied, which has drained revenue from the little-money workhorses—primary care doctors. More than any peculiarity of American medicine, these procedure-mad incentives have corrupted our health care system."