Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Refresh Us

 
Quiet gray
Morning clouds dipping
Down
Coolness touching
Doe drinking bird bath
Streams dried
 
Refresh us
Our Jesus, raining down
Heaven’s revival
We thirst,
More of you our King
We pray
                                                                 
©Marijo Phelps all rights reserved – use giving proper credit only.

 

Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction) or Esophageal Spasms?

It started out being a really good day – we splurged at breakfast and had bacon, something we usually didn’t do. I was on my way to get my hair a bit curlier with a perm.
“Hi, Marijo, please have a seat, would you like some specialty coffee with creamer?”
“That sounds yummy, Linda, thanks…”
A bit later, what with the twists and turns and laying down backwards into the shampoo bowl I was having some gastric reflux. Not a fun thing but I had overdone it a bit on the fats that morning.
Perm was finished and I got into my truck. As I began the drive home it felt like a hand had reached into my chest and was twisting and squeezing. I also had pains radiating up my jaw. As an RN, the thought crossed my mind that I might be having a myocardial infarction (heart attack) and that I should not be going home but to the emergency room. Being a typical RN, relatively stubborn regarding our own health issues and not believing it could really happen to me, I drove home.
(I WILL GO ON RECORD HERE SAYING DO NOT TO AS I DID – PLEASE, GET EVALUATED RIGHT AWAY…)
Somewhere in this process I decided to take an antacid. Just about as soon as I swallowed and it “hit bottom” I felt relief – the pain subsided in the chest and in my jaw and teeth.
I called my MD the next day and she said it sounded like an esophageal spasm BUT didn’t want to be overlooking something cardiac and sent me for a full cardiac workup including treadmill stress EKG and the works.
Turned out my heart was fine and it was an esophageal spasm. Apparently the combo of the fats and the caffeine in the delicious coffee set things off in a grand way.
Fast forward. I am working at a fairly large office. The young man across the cubical from me is having chest pains. I am thinking this young husband and father is way too young to be having cardiac issues. He is in the middle of a complete cardiac work up. The doctors were scratching their heads so far.
You almost never saw “Mark” without a can of Mountain Dew in his hand. He loved the stuff. Morning, noon and night it was never too early for a Dew, just ask him….
“Mark, I have a challenge for you regarding your chest pains….”
“Man, I am so miserable I would try just about anything, what are you thinking?”
“Think you could stop the sodas for about two weeks? Maybe you could wean off so the headaches wouldn’t be so bad but get off and stay off for 2 weeks?”
I then told him about my experience and how every time I had anything with caffeine I could almost guarantee triggering an esophageal spasm – add some fat to the mix and sometimes even carbohydrates like bread and it was a “done deal”.
“Okkkkay, I guess I could give it a try – this pain is terrible and thinking I might be having a heart attack and not knowing what to do is even worse…. You’re on!”
By the end of his two weeks he had a super grin on his face AND no further chest pains. He checked with his MDs and told them what had happened and they confirmed that yes, this could be cause and effect.
Fast forward again.
We were building a house (what’s news about that for the builder and his wife?) and our electrician was our friend who also owned land up this way. We were trading labor and spent much time working with him on our place and his.
“Gray, what’s with the grimacing face?”
“Man, my chest hurts like someone is squeezing the life out of me….”
I ran and got him an antacid and he took it and the pain stopped…. Whew, we didn’t have to call the med-evac helicopter….and Gray said he wasn’t about to go be checked anyhow… (hum, maybe men are wired a bit like this stubborn RN?)
We began a dialogue. This guy was Mr. Coffee and we had affectionately called him that for months.
“Ah, Gray, how long have you had these chest pains?”
“Oh, for months and months but they seem to be getting much worse lately. Sometimes I’m so miserable I can’t work”
“Want to try an experiment that might fix them for good?”
“Are you kidding, what could I do…?”
I then told him my experience and Mark’s regarding caffeine and the antacid “test” I did. He looked at me like I had taken a glass of cool water away from a man dying of thirst but gave a reluctant “yah…. Guess I could try that by going slowly off the coffee…..”
I think I could really hear the sob behind his words.
We had finished out electrical part of the house for them and didn’t see him again until it was time to do the next phase. He walked into the house with a grin on his face which told the whole story.
“Hey, Doc, look at me, no more chest pain!”
“Ahhh, and how were the headaches going off coffee?”
“Oh, they were not too bad after the first couple of days and it was SO worth it! Do you know that even decaf causes reflux?”
“Well, there is something in the coffee bean, leaded or unleaded, that makes you produce more stomach acid so I guess that could be part of it all, couldn’t it?”
“Yep and for the major relief I have gotten guess I will bum a glass of your wonderful well water.”
“I’m really glad to see this little “fix” of mine work so well for you, Gray. Congrats for sticking it out and getting off the java, but now we can’t call you Mr. Coffee anymore.
SO NEXT TIME YOU HAVE HORRIBLE CHEST PAINS, POP AN ANTACID ON THE WAY TO THE ER. BETTER YET, BEFORE YOU GET TO THAT STAGE MAYBE TRY TO MODERATE YOUR CAFFEINE BEFORE THE MISERY STARTS.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

For TODAY!!! HOPE....

Psalm 46 New King James Version (NKJV)

God the Refuge of His People and Conqueror of the Nations

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song for Alamoth.

46 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.


Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
 
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.


God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
 
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
 
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.


He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
 
10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
 
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
 
 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

All Children Should Be Wanted, Abortion is the Answer, Isn’t It, A Child is a Choice…

 
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
"I think we should have only wanted children, why should an unwanted child be born and then abused?" my friend Marie whispered in my ear during the lecture.

What can I say because I know the direction this is taking and I don't agree. What would help her to think this through? I knew intermission was coming up and wanted to respond to her.

The idea came to me "how about all of your family and hers?" I was definitely not wanted. My mom made one majorly bad choice. Her husband was off fighting the war and she hadn't seen him in two years. And now she discovered she was pregnant. The Red Cross got her husband, the only wonderful Dad I have ever known, home. Anyone in the family who could count knew something wasn't adding up. She tried to pass me off as "premature" even though I weighed 8 pounds at birth.  I wasn't wanted, not at first. Was I then loved and cherished? You bet I was.

Next I thought about Marie. Her Dad was an undiagnosed and untreated manic-depressive, schizophrenic, alcoholic. Her parents already had two children in diapers when her mom found out she was pregnant, again, with TWINS. Oh, did I mention they lived on a farm with no indoor plumbing? We can only imagine the tears when her folks heard the news of twins and ended up with four babies, under two years of age, in diapers at once. I couldn't imagine my life without Marie, my very closest friend.

Then there was Marie's son. She was newly married, just barely starting out in her chosen profession. They didn't have money for a baby nor was that in their plans for that time-frame. Some suggested she just have an abortion. I remember well what she said, "I can’t have an abortion, I don't believe in them personally, but I do think every woman should have a choice." That was the end of discussion and we began buying baby clothes. Her son is a delight. I thought back to the day he was in "time out". It was terribly quiet. When we went into his room he had cut the end out of a shoebox and placed pictures he had drawn over the hole in the box shined a flashlight through the picture and "projected" it onto his bedroom wall! He did this when he was seven years old. Several more "time outs" and he'd probably be a patented inventor.

Further, I thought about her husband, who was like a brother to me. About age nine, he was going down the hall to the bathroom when he heard heated words from the nearby living room, "If I never would have F----- you, we never would have had him!" I am sure those words broke his nine-year-old heart, but he is loved now by SO many. Just because his parents were going through tough times and making some bad choices, did that mean he should have died before he began life outside the womb?

Oh, then there is my wonderful husband. He is one of eleven children, coming in at number nine. I am pretty sure that he wasn't "planned". I can almost hear his mother's heart drop when she realized that "number nine" was on the way. His parents rented a dairy farm and at times there were only black birds in the pot for dinner. His father must have had heart failure when he realized they were expecting again.

Marie and I had talked before about unwanted children leading to child abuse. But what worse abuse could there be than death?

I mentioned all five of us being "unwanted" to her on the break and detailed my thoughts. I asked what all of us would have done, if any one of us had been aborted. She looked at me with really sad eyes, but didn't have time to comment, before the speaker began again.

"This is encouragement for those of you who think you might have been unplanned or unwanted. please listen carefully: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." That is from Jeremiah 1:5. The Bible was speaking about Jeremiah here but this indicated that he was "thought about and planned for" BEFORE he was ever conceived.

You are not an accident. The choices your parents made when you were conceived might not have been the best. You might have been a surprise to them, but you were no surprise to God. He thought you up, all those special parts of your personality that make you what and who you are. You were not a surprise to God but a delight. God has a plan for you, specially thought out and put together, just as you are thought out and planned by the creator of the universe. Think about that for a minute.

I glanced at Marie and she has a small smile on her face. The speaker wasn't speaking directly to us, was he? How could he have known what we talked about through the break?

"Also, there is forgiveness. Abortion is not the unpardonable sin. Let me give you some freedom here," he continued.

There were  murmurs coming from all parts of the lecture hall. You could tell this was affecting many who were there, both men and women.

"I know from counseling that there are many regrets after having an abortion. Much heaviness that those who abort had no idea they would have. Those who were told "it is not a child, it is just a blob of tissue" have told me of depression, haunting thoughts about that tiny being, about what happened and their choice. They didn't even believe it was a child, so why all these thoughts?"

There was more audience shuffling of feet, more coughing and clearing throats. And the speaker went on, "Would you like to be set free from that heaviness? Would you like to have the nightmares stop? Would you like to be, in a word, forgiven?"

Marie and I glanced around us. Who knew which ones in the audience had aborted a baby?

 A  few years back  I made a jacket using textile paints, I drew a huge female sign on the back. Within the circle of that female sign I had painted "equal rights for unborn women". It had sparked many a conversation. Just like the jacket, I was sure the speaker was sparking "conversations" within hearts even now as he spoke. What was he going to say next?

"Think about this with me, if you will, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." This is from 1 John 1:9, yes it is in the Bible, but please don't let that keep you from listening."

There were some chuckles from the audience.

"God is in the business of setting people free. He died a horrible death and would have done it just for you, if you were the only one on earth. He loves you SO much. The forgiveness and the freedom that goes with it, is yours for the asking. It is a most incredible gift. All you need to do is ask."

With that, he turned the microphone over to a gal who had an abortion. She shared her story with the audience, and how the freedom she had in being forgiven, totally changed her life.

I sat still thinking about all we had been given that day. I already knew the part about being knit together in my mother's womb "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb" from Psalms 139:13. The Jeremiah scriptures were totally new to me I was NOT an accident in God's eyes. He planned me, He loved me AND my mother chose to give me life. I had a joy inside that was about to burst out of me!

Marie and I left the lecture that day with so very much to talk about. Choice, it really is all about choice. I am so glad that my mom and dad chose life for me.

You will never know the total freedom in forgiveness until you ask, for yourself. God's line is never busy. He is never distracted. He is always there for you, waiting for you to call out to Him. Maybe this is your time, your day, your date with the creator of the universe how bad can that be?

This touching poem is shared with permission of my friend, Teresa Ortiz:
If Only for a Moment (a poem of healing)

They didn't tell me you had a beating heart;

they told me you were a mass of tissue.

They didn't tell me I would cry for you 24-years later,

they told me it was nothing-you were nothing.

The room was cold-so-so cold.

Just relax, they said, there's nothing to it.

Staring in silence-screaming inside with no place to hide, nowhere to run.

Relax I say, soon you will be out having fun.

Life went on-for me that is.

Would it matter if I told you your father and I  married?

Is that any consolation?

How many pregnancies, how many live births?

The question stings, I wonder if acid would soothe the burn.

Then one day I heard your sister's heartbeat for the very first time;

You were just her age when yours beat for the very last time.

What have I done? In an instant, you were real.

Would it make a difference if I told you I mourn for you still?

My Lord is gracious, forgiving and kind

He took you in His arms when I chose not to hold you in mine.

One hope I hold dear to my heart; that my Lord Jesus would

grant me one wish-one delight.

To hold you in my arms if only for a moment

and feel the love of both of you.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ALONE

My Jesus,
He needs You so much
In all the turmoil
That races through his mind

He can no longer lean
On broken crutches
And lies about
Like a body without bones
Yet he still resists You

If he could but grasp
Saying yes to You
Isn't giving up life
But embracing an encompassing peace
Yielding to eternal joy
Becoming aware that he's loved
Like he's never been loved before!
 

(C) Marijo Phelps All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 21, 2014