Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Unsettled.

I am feeling a bit unsettled.

I suppose I only have myself to blame. First I read a fiction novel called Sarah's Key, a fictional story about a Jewish child who was arrested with her parents in Paris, France as part of the now infamous Vel' d'Hiv roundup. Then I read a memoir called The Lost, subtitled "A search for six of six million." It's the story of one man's quest to find out what happened to his great uncle and his family during the holocaust. He grew up hearing stories about this man, and knew that they died during the holocaust, but wanted to see if he could find out exactly how and when. The author travels all around the globe, interviewing those who survived from this one tiny town located in what is now Ukraine, and ultimately is able to find most of what he is looking for. Along the way, of course, he also hears story after story of the horror and cruelty and violence committed against the Jews and anyone else who tried to help them. These cruel acts were often committed against them not by strangers or German soldiers, but by their neighbors and those with whom they regularly interacted and knew.

I felt very similar after reading We Wish to Inform you that Tomorrow...., a non-fiction account of the massacre and genocide in Rwanda. Massacre also perpetrated by those who the victims knew best, and even by those who called themselves believers.

I would like to think that I could never be capable of doing something like this, that I would be one who could stand-up and refuse to take part and try to help. Of course it is easy to say now, living in a relatively safe place with a stable government, that I would be. I'd like to think that the indwelling Spirit I have would strengthen my resolve to be able to.

And yet, one thing the author of The Lost writes is that although when you think about something as horrific as the holocaust, it is easy to see it as something that was a top-down movement controlled from above (which in some ways it was), it is also something that occurred because every day individuals made decisions that they were just going to either keep their head down and try to block out the reality surrounding them or participate in some acts of violence that seemed to them perhaps small or unimportant. Even these small acts eventually added up to over six million murdered. Likewise, small acts of resistance resulted in lives saved.

I think I am mostly unsettled because even though I have read a lot of books about the holocaust, the atrocities that occurred continue to shock and horrify me, that humans have the capability inside them for this kind of hatred and violence. In my current existence here, it is easy to think that we don't.

But we do.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Heartbreak

I mourned for a patient today.

She saw me a month ago after some personal turmoil that necessitated her being tested for STDs. When she was in the lab, she asked for a pregnancy test. It came back positive, but before I could talk to her about it, she left. I tried calling her once, unsuccessfully. She was in today, a follow-up for her usual problems.

I asked her about her OB care, and she told me she'd had an abortion. "There was too much stress," she told me, "My partner and I were fighting; I lost my job; I didn't want to, but I did."

I asked her how she was doing.
"I'm terrible. I can't sleep. They told me to come back there to get a work release, but I just can't go. I don't even drive by the office. When I need to take my kids to the doctor, I go around a different way."

"I'm so sorry," I say. We talk about the counseling available at the local crisis pregnancy center. She has stopped taking the anti-depressant she was on, so we talk about restarting it. My heart is sad.

Last time I was in this situation, I grieved more for me, for what I didn't have, what I had lost.
This time, I just ache for her. And the sweet, beautiful baby whom she'll never meet.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sewing

I've recently gotten on a clothes-sewing kick. I'm not sure why, other than seeing some cute kids clothes being made on some different craft blogs.

Sometimes people I meet are surprised that I like to sew and I sometimes get asked, "How do you do it all?" The truth is that even though I manage to sew and make things, there are other areas that sometimes get neglected. Like cleaning. I am not a slob, but I have slightly more tolerance for clutter than the average person. So I'm guessing that my house is probably dirtier than yours. I meant to take a photograph of my sewing room as proof, but totally forgot. Since I'm in Edgefield today I couldn't really remedy it. Whenever I sew a lot, my craft room rapidly degrades into a total disaster that looks like a fabric store threw up.

Anyway...on to the photos! First up, more shorts for Judah! I loved this madras fabric and have another color waiting to be cute. The shorts are a little on the snug side, so the next pair I'm going to cut a little bigger. And try to match the stripes a little better.
I also made a dress for myself! I haven't made clothing for myself since med school, but I was thinking it would be nice to have another fun summer dress or two. Plus I have been wanting to attempt to conquer my fear of patterns. Here is my first attempt. I wore it with a sweater to church, but it was so comfy I left it on the rest of the day. (And yes, I am rocking a headband. Haven't worn one of those in years.)

Here it is without the sweater, although this angle makes my little post-baby belly more obvious. Sigh. We are currently on a get-the-belly-smaller campaign. So just ignore it. :)


This was my first time successfully working with knits, and I'm excited about making another knit dress or two to wear this summer. I'll keep you posted. I did also make a tunic-looking dress I'm going to use as a swim suit cover this summer, but didn't photograph it yet. Hopefully you will see more pattern/garment sewing from now on....

Top TV shows on the TV in patient rooms in the hospital.

Sometimes, when someone refuses to leave the hospital, I joke that we should "accidentally" break their TV. I sometimes get the feeling that hospital rooms are so nice with great cable that it encourages people to stay and lounge even if they're better.  That said, here is what I most often see on TV when I enter a patient room.

1. Law and Order. (Is there any hour of the day where this is not showing?)
2. Saved by the Bell. (Ditto.)
3. Judge Judy (Or insert your other favorite Judge show.)
4. Maury. (What could be better than finding out the identity of the baby daddy to a cross dressing prostitute?)
5. Obnoxious kid cartoons. (Seriously, I am frequently surprised to see normal-seeming adults watching various cartoons with no kids in sight.)
6. Cops. (Not feeling anxious enough from being cooped up in a hospital room while getting IV medicine/lab draws/ hearing code blues being called at all hours of the night? Let's watch people yell at each other and get arrested at gun point. That should help.

What would you want to watch or listen to in the hospital?

Monday, May 23, 2011

1 year update, part 2.

In my last post, I completely forgot to mention all the other fun things Judah is doing, many of which are so boyish it suprises me:
1. He has just started to love building things with blocks. He still loves toppling over what he builds, but also will stack his own creations.
2. He will push a car back and forth across his belly while making a car noise. I'm pretty sure I didn't teach him how to do it. Maybe Jeff did? Did he just pick it up from watching cars drive by? I'm not sure. But it's adorable.
3. He heard me toot the other day and laughed out loud.
4. He loves to pick out and bring me books for him to read. (I LOVE this!) His favorite books are: 1. A book called Tails 2. An Usborne book with lots of truck pictures 3. A book with three rubber frogs on it that stretch out  4. Good Night, Moon. 5. A few books that have these peek-a-boo flaps with animals behind them. If I start reading him a book he isn't interested in, he'll close it shut and point to the bookshelf and pick a different one out.
5. He loves pushing things around - like his basket, his chair, or the stroller.
6.  In the last two or three days, Judah has really started walking by himself a lot more. Even without encouragement from us, he'll choose to walk small distances. Hooray for Judah!
7. The downside of seeing more of Judah's personality is that he is showing much more openly that he was born a sinner, just like his mommy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Reason #4,598 why I love my husband.

When you go with someone through adversity, you really get a chance to see what they're made of. One time I heard a sermon where the pastor said something to the effect of "Going through trials is like getting squeezed, and your response shows everyone what's inside of you."

I hate that Jeff has had such a frustrating year. I hate that he is still looking for a job, but right now is not having any success. I ache that he is not able to do all that he dreams of doing, but instead is stuck at home, reading and studying and taking care of Judah when I work.

But I am seeing more and more of what's inside him - and I love it. Even though Jeff is no longer allowed to preach at our church, he is still finding ways to serve it. Since we've been having lots of fill-in preachers over the last few months, Jeff has been serving a sort of a worship leader/elder who leads the initial part of the service like the call to worship, pastoral prayer, and congregational singing. He doesn't do this with any hint of bitterness, but joyfully injects small tidbits of teaching that are incredibly encouraging. I am again and again reminded of what an excellent teacher and preacher he is and know that one day a church is really going to benefit from his skills.

Today, too, as he was making announcements he asked our congregation to pray for the church's pastoral search. He talked about how we are getting applications and are actively seeking a man to lead the church. He didn't make these statements with any hint of complaining or editorializing about why that person can't be him.

I think back to when we first found out he wouldn't be licensed. If he had desired, he could have easily campaigned to have the church leave the denomination and join another. But he didn't. He graciously submitted to the decision. Even when those at our church were heartbroken, he was able to encourage them and praise the process he had just gone through. And he has continued to submit, even though the decision is one he doesn't personally agree with.

Even though I hate what he has had to go through, I have loved seeing how he responds.

I found a great one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Comfortable shoes.

While I don't think I'll be nominated for What Not to Wear anytime soon (I hope), I'm not exactly the most fashionable person out there. I have things I like to wear, and I wear them. I don't really follow a lot of trends or always know what is in style.

What I do know about, though, are comfortable shoes. I love comfortable shoes, especially ones that are work appropriate - i.e. closed toed and somewhat dressy. Even though I constantly hear people say that their high heels are comfortable, I cannot believe that any high heels could stand the test of a 12 hour day walking around a hospital floor. Thus all my shoes are flats. Before I get into all my favorites, I will say up front that I have learned that the most comfortable shoes are pricey. Well-made = comfortable = pricey, at least usually. I have figured out that if I want my feet (and me!) to be happy during the day, then I have to spend a little more. But well made shoes also last a really long time.

When I first realized that I would need comfortable shoes for working at a hospital, I went the usual route: I bought Danskos.There is a reason why this is the shoe of choice for nurses, doctors, and teachers everywhere. These shoes are comfortable, sturdy, and they last a long time. But they are, let's face it, ugly.
Exhibit A:

Don't get me wrong. I like my dansko clogs and they are comfortable.  But they are definitely not very stylish or cute. I also find that it's easy to turn my ankle while wearing them. I pretty much only wear them in the winter now. But I do love to wear them with some fun socks.

My second pair of danskos were some super cute sandals that have a much softer sole than the regular clogs. I LOVE these shoes, but I can't really wear them in the winter, unless I were to wear some hose or something, which I refuse to do. Sadly, it seems like they don't make this shoe anymore, although they do have some other cute options.


The next pair of comfortable shoes I got were some brown loafers made by Born. Honestly, these are actually more comfortable than my Dansko clogs because the sole is softer. I would say they are slightly cuter than the dansko clogs, but just barely. (Although if you check out that link they do make lots of adorable flats. Maybe I need some pale blue ones?)



Thankfully, I quickly realized that there is a whole world of cute AND comfortable shoes out there. Privo by Clarks is a brand that makes some cute and fairly comfortable shoes, such as these, which I found for pretty cheap at an outlet: The sole is a bit thin, but I can still wear them all day without pain. Their shoes tend to be a little more on the sporty side.


I eventually got some of these cute flats by Naturalizer. These were probably my favorite work shoes until very recently, because they are very light weight and comfortable. They have great arch support and really keep my feet feeling very happy.
I have been hearing about Earth shoes for several years, but never could find any to try on. I finally did and ordered some last week. The big claim about these shoes is that the heel is slightly lower than the toe, so they make you stand up straighter. Supposedly, you also burn more calories than normal when you walk and they will make you have more toned calves and gluts. I cannot speak whether or not they tone the calves and gluts since I've only worn them to work once. But I can say that they were delightful to wear. I have pretty high arches and these have awesome arch support. If I ever need to replace my dansko clogs (not likely anytime soon), I'm going to replace them with some earth shoes. I will admit that some of the earth shoes suffer from the ugly-but-comfortable shoe syndrome, but not the ones that I got:

So there you have it, my favorite shoes to wear to work.

Anyone out there with other comfortable (and cute) shoes you love?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

1 year update.

We finally took Judah for his 1 year well visit this past week.

Stats: Head 50 cm, 99%, Length - 31.25 in, 85%, Weight 22 lbs, 50%.
I was glad his weight had rebounded some after his last checkup, when he had dropped off the curve a bit. Not surprisingly, his head is still HUGE. And his fontanelle isn't even closed yet, so it's only going to get bigger.

Judah now is the proud owner of 3-almost-4 teeth. His second top tooth is just about to break through, which has made for some slightly fussier than normal days.

He is super close to walking. He will take 6 to 8 steps at a time, if we encourage him, but still prefers to cruise or crawl. He did finally start crawling on all fours, though he will still sometimes break down into his army scoot. He mostly wants to walk holding onto one finger.

His love of anything carbohydrate-related is unparalleled. As is his love of cheese. And bananas. I still have a hard time getting him to eat veggies, but then randomly he'll eat a ton. He will not drink milk. He still nurses twice a day and loves yogurt and cheese, so hopefully he'll start to enjoy milk soon. I'm sort of worried about weaning him since he won't drink any milk yet. Any ideas for getting him to take it?

One thing I always assumed before I really had kids is that it would be easy to know when to say "Oh yes, Judah's walking," or "His first word is '_____'". He does walk some, but not much unless we make him. It's also hard to know if the babbling he is saying is actually a word or not. He has said "wa-wa" a couple of time when I have his water cup. I'm not convinced that wasn't accidental. He also sometimes sounds like he might be saying "all done" by saying "ah-uh" when he finishes eating. I'm not sure. But he definitely pointed to our kitchen counter, said "Na-na" and signed the word "please" for Jeff yesterday, asking for a banana.  He is getting good at signing now - he can sign "please," "all done," and "more." What other signs have you all found useful?

He is definitely getting more and more fun. He loves being outside and swinging in his swing. He really is also very affectionate and loving. I love seeing him love on and hug things, especially when he cuddles with me. A close second is watching him hug his daddy. He also loves to hug and cuddle some of his stuffed animals, which just warms my heart, because I know that kids aren't born knowing how to hug. It's something they learn. He does get an awful lot of hugs around here, that's for sure.

He hated getting his shots and was just bawling afterward. Then our nurse gave him a stick with two stickers and on and it made it better. Then we went and got him a muffin and it was really all better.

And that's our boy at one.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My love/hate relationship with pain medicine.

(Yes, another medical post. Just one more day of working then I'm off for a few more weeks.)

I have a love/hate relationship with pain medicine. Actually, it's mostly a hate/hate relationship. Modern medicine has given us lots of very strong pain medicines, which on the surface sounds like a great thing. Honestly, for many people, it is a great thing. People recovering from surgeries don't have to be miserable anymore. People with debilitatingly painful conditions can find some relief and live a normal life. Those who are near the end of their life dying from cancer can find rest easier.

The problem that arises, though, is that most of these medicines are also incredibly addicting. They can make people feel too good. Working in the ER and hospital I am constantly confronted with people who are flat out addicts. They beg and plead, moaning and groaning and it is always difficult to tell what is true pain and what is them just acting out for my benefit.

The tricky issue is that frequently these patients have actual medical problems that could be painful. As an example, we take care of lots of patients with sickle cell disease, a blood disorder that can be incredibly painful. They come in complaining of pain, and so we give them pain medicines. Pretty soon, they need more and more pain medicine because they have gotten used to it. Eventually, they get to the point where they can't function unless they are taking really strong doses of pain medicine, and usually they aren't functioning well no matter what. There are often similar situations for those with chronic back or neck pain. I don't want anyone to suffer. I got into to medicine to help people, to try to heal and comfort. At some point, though, my giving in and writing a prescription for a narcotic becomes harmful. I often have a hard time know at where that point is.

I sometimes feel like I can't blame these patients because the medical field is part of what has created their problem - we get tired of hearing them complain and complain, and so we give them what they want because sometimes that's easier than continuing to refuse. Just today I had to deal with two incredibly frustrating patients, both of whom have real issues that I'm sure are painful, but who are both incredibly manipulative and addicted. One is younger and every day that I've seen him he asks me for more frequent or higher doses of pain medicines. He is a connoisseur, preferring the flavor of one narcotic over the other, demanding that I give him this one instead of that one. He has a significant infection in his arm and has been to the OR to try to clean it out, and so I know he's hurting. But he also is going to be arrested when he leaves for stealing prescription pads and selling fake prescriptions. I know that addictive substances have already wrecked his life, and so ratcheting up the dose will only make it harder to get off. Additionally, he's incredibly rude and demanding, which makes him much more difficult to help. I talk with a doctor who is sort of a pain medicine expert and he gives me some ideas. They seem to be working, but then my patient got mad at the end of the day today because the surgeon told him he can't go outside to smoke anymore and so he signed out of the hospital against medical advice. Sigh.

The second is older, a little more polite, but still cannot focus on anything except the pain he is in and the pain medicine he wants. He lies to the nurses, saying I said he could have more pain medicine. He lies to me, telling me the ER doctor promised him another dose of pain medicine. I want to help him, but he is another one whose life is consumed by his search for narcotics. I gently but firmly tell him I will not give him anything besides what he is already on. I am discharging him, though, and so I write for a few days worth of pain medicine to take home with him. I'm not sure I should have.

Most days, I just wish I didn't have to deal with them, that I didn't have to feel like patients were manipulating me into giving them more. But then I go into the room of the very sweet 70 year old I saw today. A few days ago, she fell and broke her hip. Xrays revealed an unusual spot on her bone. More xrays and cat scans found lung cancer, so far gone it's already spread everywhere. Her back is being eaten away by it, just like her ribs and her hips. She had been having back pain for weeks. And now, because I'm giving her pain medicine, she's not.

Therein is the dilemma. I like making people feel better. I do not like it when I feel like a well-paid drug dealer.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The downside of primary care.

(A sure sign I'm working: several days of no posting, then a somewhat random post about something medical. But there you go.)

I love being a family doctor. I've talked before about how much I enjoy it, how I love taking care of the whole person and managing their chronic problems. Sometimes, though, that means being caught in the middle of several specialists with the unenjoyable task of playing human telephone.

An example:
I call up a specialist whom I've consulted on one of my patients:
"Dr. X, I'm calling concern my patient with this complicated problem that has gotten worse. What else can we be doing to make this problem better?"
"Well, I don't understand why Dr. Y hasn't done this procedure that I don't do. I really think he needs it. Maybe you could call Dr. Y and get him to do it."

Now I call Dr. Y.
"Dr. Y, this is Aubrey Tell with family practice. I'm calling about my patient with this complicated problem. Dr. X really feels like he needs this procedure."
"Well, I've been watching him for a few days and I didn't think we needed to do it yet. But why don't you call Dr. Z, the other specialist who can do this procedure."
[Insert editorial translation: It's saturday and I don't feel like coming in and doing it.]

Internally, I sigh and then call Dr. Z
"Dr. Z, this is Aubrey Tell with family practice. I'm calling because I have a patient who needs this procedure. Can you do it?"
"Umm...No. Have you even spoken with Dr. Y yet? Why is he not doing it? Why is he not doing the other procedure that would also be effective? I haven't done one in two years, so I would prefer if Dr. Y would do it."
[Editorial translation: I also don't feel like doing it on Saturday.]
"Well, Dr. Y wanted you to do it and we're not doing it the other way because we tried that already and there were complications."
"I'm really not comfortable doing it. Let me know if Dr. Y won't do it."

Another sigh, and I call Dr. Y again.
"Dr. Z says he hasn't done it in two years and is not comfortable doing it."
Exasperated, Dr. Y responds," Well, the reason he hasn't done one in two years is because he always refuses. I really wish we could wait because your patient has another related condition and I was really hoping to take care of everything at the same time."
"I don't know what you want to do, all I can say is that Dr. X felt like he needed this procedure soon."
"Alright, I'll take care of it tomorrow."

A relieved sigh and I am off the phone.
Wasn't that easy?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Grandparents.

It's awfully fun watching your parents as they love your baby.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A few photos from my day:

I'm not sure when my baby became a little boy, but in the last few days every time I look at him, I just think that he is so. big. Sigh.


Seriously, he played with this mop for at least 15 or 20 minutes, giving me some time to fold some laundry. It was awesome. Who knew that he would love a mop so much? Next time the floor is dirty, I'm letting him take care of it.


I have had a very productive last several days. I'm not sure what has gotten into me, but I have been on a cleaning tear. First I cleaned and organized the cabinets and drawers in our bathroom. Then I pulled out all the winter stuff and too-small clothes in Judah's drawers and rearranged his closet a little. Today I tackled the closet in the master bedroom, purging a ton of stuff like sweaters we don't wear and towels we don't need. I did the same in the little laundry room we have. I dropped six trash bags full of stuff to donate at the Salvation Army.

I didn't donate all our old towels, though.... A few of them became this:

 I loved this project because it was a) fast (<1 hour) b) free (an old towel and half a hand towel + fleece scraps from my stash) and c) fun and creative. There are a lot of different ways you can go with a hooded towel. I have a feeling I might be trying them out over the next few weeks. Birthday presents anyone??

Monday, May 09, 2011

Interesting Links

 Did everyone see the fake MLK quote that floated around facebook and twitter the other day? Here is a great link explaining where it came from and how it got so widely propagated.

Another great Salon.com link which helps explain my position on alternative medicines.

Russell Moore had this excellent post about infertility and Mother's Day. One of my favorite parts was actually this prayer written by someone in the comments about how pastors can best pray on Mother's day.


"Heavenly father, on a day like Mother’s Day there are so many different emotions that we bring to you.
Some of us bring emotions of deep gratitude and joy for the mothers you have blessed us with, mothers who have loved us, 
cared for us, 
walked with us
and taught us how to live well.
We praise you for such love shown to us through our moms and we pray for all those who are moms, that you would give them:
strength where they are weak,
wisdom where they are unsure,
patience with the many demands placed upon them,
faith in your care for them and their families,
and love – deep love – for those whom you have given them to nurture.

Others of us bring emotions of sadness and pain. Some of us are saddened because our relationship with our mom is not easy, or was not easy, or perhaps never existed at all. Please
meet us in our pain,
heal our hearts where they are wounded,
soften our hearts where they are hardened,
and enable us to forgive and to love even those who have hurt us.

Others of us are saddened because we long to be moms, long to have children, and yet are not able to do so. Father of mercies,
give us comfort in our sadness,
trust in you despite unfulfilled longings,
and joy in knowing that you never stop loving us or having our best in mind.

We pray these things to you as our Father, who loved us before the world began, and will love us forevermore.
In Jesus’ name, amen!"

I'm very thankful that there are such sensitive and Godly men out there for whom the topic of infertility is something that they care so deeply about.

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day thoughts.

Mother's (Mothers'?) Day was less than picturesque this year.

Instead of being awoken gently to the aromas of a beautiful breakfast in bed, I was roughly pulled from sleep in the middle of the night to the sound of Jeff caught in the throws of an awful GI bug. The only thing worse than listening to someone barf is actually doing it yourself. Thankfully, the GI bug already passed my way but did not leave me hugging the porcelain throne.

Since Jeff still felt bad this morning, I went to church with Judah by myself. Determined to make the most of it, I picked up some take-out Thai on the way home and a vanilla diet coke from Sonic. I ate lunch by myself, while trying to coax Judah into eating something besides crackers or cheese. (I was less than successful.) I did manage to get a short nap during Judah's afternoon snooze. Then Judah and I played outside in the backyard while Jeff continued to recover.

I was talking to my own mom this afternoon and she was saying that she was sorry that I had a less than perfect mother's day. (Sadly, thanks to our very cute germ factory and her very kind offer to watch him on thursday, she also spent her mother's day caught in the midst of the same GI bug. Judah does seem to be a very efficient disease vector.) Of course, it would have been wonderful to have a hot breakfast and flowers by the bedside and an afternoon free of maternal responsibilities. But, as I told her, any day with Judah is better than any day without him.

I'm so thankful to be a mom.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Easter 2011

I've been meaning to post some Easter photos, so everyone can see how cute Judah was in his first homemade Easter outfit.

See? Adorable. Even though the vest was a little too big, I still loved the green seersucker.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Extreme....hoarding?

I caught a few minutes of TLC's Extreme Couponing show the other day. I have always been impressed with people who do the whole couponing thing - it certainly is impressive to be able to work the system in such a way as to get so much free stuff.

What struck me the other day, though, was this particular person seemed to possibly be a better fit for TLC's other show which I've only seen previews for: Hoarding: Buried Alive. She is, of course, much better organized and her stuff is all neatly shelved and divided into categories, but the disorder seems to be the same to me. Listening to her describe why she spends so much time couponing was very much like listening to someone who is addicted to drugs. She talked frequently about the "high" she gets when getting a good deal, about how she spends all her free time (70 hours a week!) searching the internet to make sure she doesn't miss any good deals. She'll leave the house at 11pm to go get a deal. Her stash consumes an entire room and is slowly taking over the rest of her house. She actually said something to the effect of "The bigger my stash gets, the better I feel." Instead of admiring her, I was just sad. She has more toothpaste and toilet paper than she can use, and yet she still continues to buy it. Like a heroin addict looking for the next hit, she uses her time and energy searching for the next big deal. I suppose it's physically healthier to be addicted to good deals rather than, say,  methamphetamine, emotionally it's probably the same.

The show also reinforced to me that I'm just not that interested in trying to coupon. I have some friends who do coupon in a way that seems both good and reasonable, but when I see most of the stuff that is bought with coupons, I feel like most of it is stuff that I don't use. (Toothpaste and toilet paper aside.) I know there are lots of people out there who coupon as a way to best use the resources God has given them, and I respect that. But I also think God wants us to be faithful stewards of more than just money; our time and energy are also important to him. At this point in my life, I don't think I could be a good steward of all of them while still trying to do all this couponing. (But kudos to those who can!)

I guess I was also somewhat chastized while watching this show. It is very easy to see what this woman is treasuring; she readily admits that her room full of toiletries makes her feel better. I, on the other hand, hide behind my respectable Christian vocabulary and pride, never letting on how I seek out affirmation like a junkie, piling up my accomplishments and good deeds because they make me feel better. As if they could somehow be offered up as evidence of a good life.

It made me wonder: what else am I hoarding in those boarded-up and dark rooms in my heart?