Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I'm Missing an Organ

It's official, I no longer have my gallbladder. I haven't had it for about a week. Surgery went well. The bonus is I am still alive, which I am particularly glad about. Although, there were times last week when I felt like death. My pain was so bad that they put me on the strongest pain medicine that can be distributed outside the hospital, percocet.
Now, what is interesting about percocet is that it takes away your pain, but not only does it take away your pain, you are also on a high. I have never been high, so this was a new feeling for me. I pretty much remember everything that happened the four days I was on it, the people, the conversations, what I watched on tv, but then I don't really remember it. That probably doesn't make sense to you, but it does to me. I was definitely on a trip. I had some really trippy dreams while I was on it too, one of them was particularly disturbing. Also, I wanted to scratch myslef, it felt like I was itchy, but then I wasn't...weird. Although it took away the pain, completely, unlike vicodine (which I took two of and wanted more after an hour), I don't know how I feel about taking percocet again. See, I can say that now that I am beginning to feel better, but I guess when it comes down to it, if I am in as much pain as I was last week, I probably would not hesitate to take it again if it was going to take care of the pain.
I am still in pain, but have decided to try to only take over the counter pain medication. And I am sick of being stuck at home, and you aren't suppose to drive if you are on vicodine and those sorts of medicines. I am not a very patient patient if you know what I mean. And, I am taking the GRE tomorrow, and it is kind of hard to study on pain medicines that make you feel a little off.
I have four holes in my stomach now. I am praying that the scars don't look too bad. It is really weird to think that this organ, that I never really cared about before I became sick, is no longer inside of me. I guess I will no longer be whole...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Potential 2008 Presidential Candidates

I felt it was my duty to put a link on here with the potential presidential candidates for both parties. The sites will be updated as new information is provided. Enjoy reading!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The GRE and my new vocabulary

My world, and what I thought it consisted of for the next few months of my life and to be honest longer than that, has kind of been turned upside down. I have had some health issues and am having surgery to remove my gallbladder on Tuesday (for more info on the gallbladder, see blog below). I also have about 10 ulcers, which is uncommon for several reasons...the number of ulcers that there are (what, 10 is too many?) and the fact that I am only 23 years old. So instead of going back to DC, I will be staying in Fresno.
This leaves my options and my schedule pretty much wide open. I have done nothing for about 6 weeks, and am now bored out of my mind. I don't really know how to not do anything, so being out of commission for so long has given me way too much time to think about, well, everything. So instead of taking it easy, waiting for my surgery date and being oh so excited for the recovery period, I have somehow come up with 3 plans for my life...scratch that, 4 different plans for my life.
One of these plans is now grad school in the fall at Fresno State. I have a heart for missions, for people, and for politics, and believe that a masters in International Relations would be helpful for what comes next in my life. The application is due April 1st, and the GRE is the test required. You are allowed to take the GRE once a month but no more than five times during the year. I discovered this on Friday. Needless to say, I decided to sign up for the GRE. Since I would like to take it twice, I signed up for the GRE on Friday the 16th, am having surgery on Tuesday the 20th, and am taking the GRE on Wednesday February 28th (which should be a fun time had by all). The only part of the test that I am concerned with is the vocabulary.
On Friday, I went to Barnes and Nobles, and purchased GRE Exam vocabulary flashcards. Some of these words are normal, everyday words (chauvinist, advocate, erratic)...any college graduate would know them. Then, there are other words, that no one in their right mind would use...but I think I might start using some of these words. So just an insight...from now on a group is a bevy, a lie is a canard, and noise is cacophony...this may be a dangerous undertaking. :)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fret not thyself... Psalm 37:1

This was the scripture in my devotional today. Do not worry. That is what it is saying. How easy it is to say and how hard it is to do. As a follower of Christ, I know that He knows what is best for me, I have faith, for His word assures me of that promise, but I continue to struggle with this promise.
This is the beginning of a psalm that I have come to love. It is a psalm that gives me guidance in trusting in the Lord and waiting patiently on what He is doing in my life. It is a promise to His children that they will prosper. This verse and psalm is very timely. What I thought the next steps of my life consisted of have changed completely over the last six weeks. Although it is hard for me to process all that is happening, and hard for me to see what the Lord is doing, I realize that I don't need to know what the Lord is doing, I only need to trust that He has my best interest at heart. I feel like the last 8 or so months have been a time of trusting, not really knowing what comes next. A good friend likened my situation to the fog (a great example for those of you that live in the central valley). I may not be able to see a foot in front of me because of the fog, but that foot is there, there is ground. I know that there is a next step, I don't know what that step is, but it is there.
I read a book a few months ago titled In the Meantime:The Practice of Proactive Wating by Rob Brendle. One of the main points of the book, and one that has stuck with me is something he calls "living into your calling". Knowing that Jesus has a plan for your life, you may or may not have a direction as to what that is or will be, but that everything you do is preparing you for it. He talks about the jobs that he had where he didn't see how they could help in the calling that God had placed on his life, but looking back on them, he sees how every task has prepared him for his current occupation. The Biblical example he used was King David. David was a sheperd boy, who was told that he was going to be King, but he would have to wait. He knew his calling, but there was so much more that needed to happen, that he needed to experience to prepare him for such a position.
I take scripture such as Psalm 37 and the story of King David and cling to the fact that although I believe I know the call God has placed on my life, and I want to get there NOW, there are still things that I need to experience and learn. And although I do not fully see how my current situation puts me where God wants me, I will trust this change of direction, cling to His promises, and try not to fret.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Politics and some thoughts on the '08 Presidential Bid

When I was living in Washington DC, I couldn't help but know exactly what was going on in terms of politics, the capitol, the president, and of course the latest scandal. I worked 5 blocks from the White House and 8 blocks from the Capitol, and had a tv on at my desk on the news channels (and from 2-3 pm I watched the Daily Show and the Colbert Report). Since I have been back in Fresno and sick, I feel like I have been living under a rock, not really sure what is going on in the realm of national politics. Now that I am feeling somewhat better (and by that I mean I no longer am asking Jesus to take me home), my interest has once again peaked.
I had no doubt that Congress was still fighting with the President on the next course of action in Iraq. I read in the Washington Post that a partisan debate began yesterday in the House regarding Iraq and the President's current war policy to deploy more troops to Iraq. Apparently this debate will continue unto the evening and even tomorrow before a House Vote on Friday. Democrats are of course saying that the people have spoken out against Bush's policy by voting in a democratic majority into Congress. And I don't doubt that the American people were/are against Bush's war strategy, but a new strategy has been introduced since the American people voted in November. Although I personally do not want more troops to be sent over with the possibility of being killed if it isn't necessary, if sending 20,000 more troops to Iraq will allow all of our troops to come back sooner, I am all for it. Many have likened this war to Vietnam...well what I know of Vietnam, I am glad that the American people are still supporting our Troops, who are over there risking their lives so we may continue to live in such a way...Free. In the article mentioned above, Republicans believe that we are now fighting for our very way of living, and part of me does not doubt that due to all that is occurring in the world and the Middle East (dealing with Islamic Fundamentalists). No matter what I think is right or wrong, with a Democratic House, a 97 word resolution is going to be passed that will go against the President's proposed war strategy.
When there was a Republican majority, the democrats complained of not being heard and being treated unfair due to the position as the minority. When the 110th Congress began, the democrats took a running start with their own agenda (100 Hour Agenda), not considering Republican proposals and amendments to legislation being introduced. In the current debate over the war, Republicans are not allowed to introduce alternative measures to the proposed resolution.
To switch gears a bit...the beginning of the presidential election bid always intrigues me. It fascinates me who does and does not form exploratory committees, and who decides to go forward to try to win their parties presidential bid.
And with that, how fascinated people are with meeting such candidates. For instance, a gorge of people waited to shake hands with Rudy Giuliani outside of Mimi's Cafe in Fresno. He was at the Tulare Ag Expo on the 13th, you can't miss that on the front page of the Fresno Bee. People waited outside for Giuliani for about 2 hours, to what, shake hands with a man who has not officially declared he is trying for the GOP presidential bid (although he informally said it at the Tulare Ag Expo, and lets face it, we all know he is running). I guess I just don't get why people would wait around for such a long time, in the cold, to shake hands with a man...he is only a man. Like I said, I guess I just don't get it.
I read another interesting article in the Washington Post (Posted at 01:15 PM ET, 02/13/2007) regarding candidates and their religion, in particular a candidate vying for the GOP bid, Mitt Romney, who is Mormon. If you have a chance, I suggest you read the article, it is quite interesting.

Goodbye to by my Gallbladder

It is official...I will be saying goodbye to my gallbladder next Tuesday right around 1 pm. I have been sick for about 6 weeks, which for the most part has really sucked. So after many doctors appts and many tests, they have finally figured out the problem (or one of the problems). One of the funny things about having all the tests done is that they found out something else that is going on with my body without even meaning too. What it comes down too, though, is that I am extremely happy that it finally seems like there is an end in sight to all of this.
I was having lunch with a friend the other day, and as we were discussing our ailments, we were discussing the fact that when the doctor mentions something may be wrong or doesn't give any indication at all, we both go onto WebMD to try to figure out what is going on with our bodies. It was nice to know that I wasn't the only one who does this. It has been fun messing with my sister, telling her all the different things that I thought were wrong with me before we actually knew.(side note, my sister who is in PA school told me that doctors and PA's hate when people try to self diagnose). The downside to going on WebMD is you can self diagnose yourself with just about anything and can really freak yourself out. The upside is that you learn a whole lot about the body.
For instance, I wasn't even sure what the gallbladder did. I knew where it was located (due to the pain), and that it was part of the digestive tract (thanks to my anatomay class my senior year of high school), but that was about it. I now know what it looks like, the color, the function, the type of tissue, etc. I also know all about peptic ulcers, since that is the other thing they found wrong with me.
Anyways, I have learned that by taking my gallbladder out that there is a 70% chance that it is going to take care of all the abdominal pain. That also means that there is a 30% chance that I could be back in the surgeons office with the same pain. I'm praying that once he takes the gallbladder out and I recover that I am going to be 100% me again.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Going over the grapevine...

I was feeling pretty good on Friday, and decided that I was going to drive down to Pasadena to see my sister. I have discovered that as much as I enjoy traveling with other people, I absolutely love traveling alone. I can listen to whatever I want on the radio or on my ipod, and I don't have to converse with anybody if I so choose. If my phone rings, and I don't feel like talking, I don't have to answer my phone.
I have been contemplating this whole being still thing that the Bible talks about (read blog below). In fact my devotional for the past two days have been on similar topics. Before I started over the grapevine I stopped to get gas in my vehicle that is not environment friendly, but I love it. I had been thinking about said topic above on and off from the beginning of my trip. After I filled up, I hoped back in my car, turned on my ipod...but my ipod didn't turn on! I panicked for a second. There is no radio station that I am aware of that comes in over the grapevine, i don't have a cd player in my car, just a good ol' tape player (and I didn't have my Wilson Phillips tape with me). That meant 40 or so minutes with silence! Now, I am ok with being in a car with a person, the radio on, and no talking, but the whole silence thing really freaked me out. Just me and my thoughts for 40 minutes...it is kind of a scary thing when you know what I think about.
Then I had another thought. Maybe this was God's way of making me slow down a bit and spend some much needed quality time with him. I am not one to over spiritualize things, but do believe that God cares about every detail of our lives, and since I have been thinking about such things, I really believe that the whole ipod thing not working was not a coincidence.
It was a time of much dialogue between me and God, dialogue about different things in my life that I am having a hard time with, one could even say struggling with. It made me think of when Jacob and the angel of the Lord wrestled ,Genesis 32:22-30, except I will not be walking with a limp for the rest of my life. I have realized that I love struggling with the Lord, because every time I do, the outcome is that I know Him and His love in a deeper way. Now, don't get me wrong, the struggle can last for awhile, it is no walk in the park, but it is always worth it.
When I got over the grapevine and onto the 210, I was sure that the Lord was going to allow my ipod to work. Well, I was wrong, which really bummed me out. Last night, which was Saturday night, for some reason I tried my ipod again, and it turned on. I was stoked. But then that made me think about how much I value the things I own, my possessions...but since it was bed time I decided that would have to be a struggle for a different day and thoughts for a different blog.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Be Still...

"Be Still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10
Since I have been sick, I haven’t kept up with my daily devotionals so much. I have this really amazing devotional called Streams in the Desert. Since it is so amazing, if I miss a day, I go back and do the missed devo while doing the current devo. I am also reading a book by Philip Yancey entitled Prayer: Does it make any difference?. Anyways, today I went back and did the devotional for February 5th (yes, I know it was a couple of days ago, but bear with me).
The main verse was Isaiah 52:12 “Ye shall not go in haste”. In this particular verse, God is letting his people know that they did not have to hurry to Jerusalem because the Jewish exiles were promised a safe return and the Lord would go ahead of them. Anyways, the part underneath the verse is what struck my attention. It says “I do not believe that we have begun to understand the marvelous power there is in stillness, We are in such a hurry-we must be doing-so that we are in danger of not giving God a chance to work." It goes on to say "This is our trouble in regard to our Christian life; we want to do something to be Christians when we need to let Him work in us." Now, I am not talking about not serving in the church, I am talking about, and believe this is talking about, being still enough to let God work in us and through us without us actually "doing" something. There is nothing that we can do on our own that can make us Christians or more Christ like.
In the book by Yancey, he talks about Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God". These are two great commands that we as Christians don't take seriously. Yancey points out that the first command is a habit of attention...Be Still. He goes on to say that the first command prepares you for the second command: "know that I am God;I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
I have come to realize that it is so hard for me to "Be Still". There is always something to do, to see, to be a part of. It is as if I don't want to miss out on what is happening in the world and by doing that I am missing out on what God has for me. I have realized that just as the Isrealites, although the Lord has promised that He has gone before me, I continue to live a life of haste.
I have realized that I have been living a pace of life that makes it hard for me to hear the gentle whisper of the Lord (1 Kings 19:11-13). God is not going to fight for my attention, He is not going to yell and scream until I turn His way, He will nudge me and whisper to me gently, until I make time to listen to what He has to say. I am trying to learn how to balance out this crazy journey we call life, to learn how to Be Still and rest in His loving arms...to let Him do a awork in me.