Saturday, November 6, 2010



Sparky Anderson died this last week.  It's not the end of the world.  It's not even really the end of an era (he retired from coaching a long time ago), but it sort of feels like it.

I grew up loving to cheer for the Detroit Tigers, and just loving sports in general.  They won the World Series in '84.  I still remember that year as being a favorite.  I loved the 4th grade.  Our family had a great vacation in Florida for Spring Break.  The Tigers won the Series.  The Raiders beat the 'Skins in the Superbowl.  We all love to hate the Skins!  The Olympics were in LA.  Mary Lou scored her perfect 10.  Dad and I stayed up til unreasonable hours to watch the women's volleyball team kicking a lot of teams butts.  The Georgetown Hoyas, including Patrick Ewing, had a great run during March Madness.  It felt like everyone I cheared for that year got the job done. 

I'm sure there was corruption in professional sports back then.  I know there was.  I was too young to know it, though.  All I knew was that Sparky took a bunch of non-all-stars and put them together to make a great team that was a ton of fun to cheer for.  I remember my cousin Tobey having most of the play-by-play of the series that year memorized.  He could qoute minutes of it at at time.  As cliche as it may sound, it just felt like a good time to be alive if you were a sports fan.  I was and am. 

I'm not sure if it happened in '84 or another season, but I remember going to a game in the now flattened Tiger Stadium.  Sparky was at the wall giving autographs to a bunch of kids.  I got in line.  I waited and waited.  Finally, I was the next in line and was so excited I could barely stand it.  With great expectation I held up my baseball to have him sign it.  He smiled kindly, patted me on the head, and said, "next time kid".  That was it.  Nothing.  No autograph.  All that time I waited, and all I had to show for it was a memory.  When I told my dad what happened, he pointed out that I would probaby have lost the autograph, but would always have that memory.  You know what?  He was right.  Lots of people get souvenirs.  We lose them over time, but I still rememer exactly where I was standing in Tiger stadium and can still hear his voice.

No, Sparky wasn't a god.  He was a good manager, and was well respected by many, even his opponents.  I was giving some ribbing to a patient who was wearing a White Sox hat this week.  I told him he was not allowed to hassle me because Sparky died and he had to admit that he probably liked him too.  He agreed. 

We hear it in stories all the time, the idea of going back to a simpler place and time.  Hearing of his death, took me back.  Tiger Stadium was torn down last year.  I love going to Comerica Park, but The Corner will always be the home of the Tigers in my mind.  We lost 2 of the most loved faces/voices in Tigers history this year, Ernie Harwell and Sparky Anderson.  Like I said, it's not the end of the world, but it sure feels a little sad to see an era moving on.  I finally realized, I think I'm glad I didn't get that autograph.  Dad was right.  I'm glad for the memory.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

For Sarah

Here you go, my friend!  So as to not plagiarize, I want to be clear that this is from Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed ~ A Study of David.  It's suggestions made by Priscilla Shirer, not me. 

1.  Print a scripture verse or two in a large font and tape it on the bathroom mirror to meditate on while brushing little teeth and washing little hands.  Use this same scripture for 7 days.

2.  Pray breath prayers-sentence prayers as they come to you throughout the day. 

3.  Intentionally play worship music to contemplate while folding clothes or doing other tasks.

4.  Wake up before the family and go for a walk or jog.  Use this time not simply to exercise the body but also to talk to God and listen for His voice.

5.  When outside with the chlildren, ask them to point out a specific aspect of nature and what it might reveal about God's greatness to them.  Pray with them in thanksgiving for God's creation.

6.  Before getting out of bed each morning, offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God and ask Him specifically to make you aware of His presence throughout the day.

7.  Every time you feel anxious or the need to worry, take that as a cue to offer the situation to God in prayer.

These sound like pretty simple things to do, but they sure do make a difference in a day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Too good not to share

The hiatus is over.  What a long hiatus it's been!

I've gone some places, done some things, spent time with some people.  It's too much to try to catch up on right now.  Maybe I'll try sometime.  I'm not really sure I will though. 

To put it simply, work has been work lately.  It's draining physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I'm grateful for my job.  Don't get me wrong.  I really am.  It's just that we've been very busy, had more responsibilities added to what we already had, and then some people were let go, thank you to the lagging economy.  It makes each day feel a little like we're cooking out of the More With Less Cookbook. 

As a result, I find life tiring right now and like it's just tough to keep up.  I have a new schedule, which I love by the way (four 10-hour days, no Mondays), but it often stretches into much longer than 10.  We've all been working a lot of extra hours.  Good for the paycheck.  Not good for the tiredness scale. 

Here's the skinny.  I've been asking God for help.  I tend to find myself crying out with a quick prayer in the morning or just before bed.  It seems like I'm too tired to really find the time I need to give him each day.  I've decided I'm too tired not to.  There are several changes I'm making in each day's decisions that are helping.  It's not like I just drank 10 cans of Red Bull or anything (never tried the stuff), but it's helping in small bits.  The other thing is God showing up in the small bits to let me know He's there and has my back.  I already knew that, but sometimes it's nice to see it practically.  I asked for prayer at small group Sunday evening for God to help give me His joy throughout the day each day and to be aware of his Presence.  It's working!  I'm not surprised, but I'm sure pleased as punch that I have such a cool God.  I have to share a couple of the examples. 

1.  We're doing a new Bible study at church.  Our pastor has been preaching about the Holy Spirit.  He didn't read the Bible study, but the text and what he's said go hand in hand.  We need the power of the Holy Spirit to get through our days and to live the lives He has for us.  With salvation we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit giving us the power to do that.  Don (the pastor) and the study are saying the same thing. 

2.  I've been looking at some practical ways to destress, shift my focus on God throughout the day, and get more rest.  The study today offered 7 practical ways to incorporate a God-consciousness into the regular rhythms of our day.  Do you remember that I just said I asked for prayer about that on Sunday?  He doesn't waste time messin' around!

3.  One of the group discussion questions in our study asked "what represents God's presence to you?"  One thing I thought of was light.  I love that when you fly high above the clouds on a stormy day, the sun is still shining above the clouds.  Even on the dreary days, I enjoy knowing the sun is still shining.  There are oodles of verses reminding us that God is Light.  This morning the moon was glowing like a big gorgeous pearl in the sky.  It was so big and so pretty it looked fake.  I even thanked God for it in my facebook status.  Within a minute or two, there was a song on the radio that talked about the fact that He puts the light in the sky to let us know He's there.  Here's the link.  Hmmmm.......didn't I just write that as an answer for how he shows us His Presence? 

4.  I don't usually think that I have a gift of words and encouragement.  Yeah, I can write decently (when it's not too late at night:)  And I often send a card or email to a friend that I know is going through a rough time.  I feel like I know so many other people, though, who always have just the right thing to say.  Much more than me at least.  A friend of mine recently had a very sudden death in the family.  She thanked me for the words of encouragement I shared with her.  She told me that it's a gift I have to make a person feel comforted and at ease.  I smiled, said I was glad it was a comfort, and then told her there are a lot of other people who have just the right thing to say more than me.  She started with "no, Cheryl, it's a gift" and then pointed out that she knows I have a close relationship with God, so when I share encouragement or say that I'm praying, she knows it's true.  Well.......that night I opened my Bible to read before bed.  I didn't have a destination in mind, just opened it up.  The first page my eyes fell on had Isaiah 50:4-5. 

                                 The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
                                 to know the word that sustains the weary.
                                 He wakens me morning by morning,
                                 wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.

Whoa!  Talk about feeling like you just got hit in the chest by a big rock!  I had underlined this verse a few years ago.  The prayer I penned in the margin........Lord, give me the grace to look like this.  I'm not telling this one to pat myself on the back.  Like I said, it's not necessarily the way I see myself, but I am going to boast in my God who heard a prayer I wrote years ago and answered it.  If I hadn't had the conversation with my friend, I probably would have moved on from that page with the underlining and not even noticed it.  Two pieces of confirmation in the same day made me stand at attention and listen.  This isn't something that I'm saying is me at all.  I'm saying this is that my God is good.  He really is.  All the time.  Even on the rotten days that it feels hard to be who He wants me to be.  He showed me that He's going to help me be who He wants me to be. 

See, it's not any one HUGE instance, but He's showing up each day and letting me know that He's in control.  I'm so glad that His ability to be faithful doesn't run out!

Note ~ I posted this with the thougth in mind that about the time you open your mouth, that's when your mouth gets you in trouble.  Sure enough it did :(  Boy, am I thankful that we get to start every morning fresh.  And for co-workers who are still good to me even when I'm not perfect.

Monday, April 19, 2010


The last 5 weeks have been a lot of fun, but very tiring as well.  I feel asleep on the couch watching TV yesterday.  I'm ashamed to say how long I slept.  No I'm not!  I was tired and it's a day of rest.  Let's just say it was decadent.  Anyway, I was out of town most or all of the last 5 weekends.  I had missed church at Central the 3 Sundays preceding yesterday.  (I was accused of missing 2-3 months, but that was a stretch:)  It was so good to be back.  I'm certainly not complaining about the things I did, though. 

I'll try to do a little show and tell of my travels.  There was nothing as exciting as Scotland or Liberia, but still good times spent with people I love.  One of the weekends was just to pick up a car that I bought from my mom's co-worker.  Now that's the way to do it.  (By the way, I have a used Saturn for sale if anyone knows of someone who needs a used car that gets great gas mileage!)  Cindy's husband is a bit OCD about caring for cars, so I managed to pay for a 3 year old car that feels brand new.  Nice!  I love a good deal.
Easter weekend I went to Virginia with my parents.  If you've ever read my blog or FB profile, you know what little girl I was excited to see!  It was a lot of fun.  We did the usual walk to the farmer's market downtown.  The picture above was a little hard to focus as Grandma (my mom) was confused about the fact that it wasn't a race to the market.
Just because one feels compelled to post a photo of those amazing eyes! 
Sometimes Grandma finds it more ergonomically correct to turn the stroller around and tip it backward. It seems to be nearly more than Katie Grace can take!  There was another picture that showed her holding onto the upright bars for dear life!  No babies were harmed in the taking of these photos, but I'm sure it felt a little awkward. 

The next weekend was a visit to Chelsea, MI to see Beth, one of my best friends from high school and her lovly new daughter, Kate.  Katherin/Kathryn in it's many forms seems to be a popular one this year!  Let me tell ya, being the aunt and holding sweet babies is HARD work! I'll have you know I willingly took one for the team!  Well, I didn't literally take a baby, but you know what I mean. 
Here's the beautiful baby Kate and her mama. 
On the way back to Ft. Wayne, I went to Sturgis again for the Eichorn (mom's side of the family) Easter. What a fun time!  The egg hunt only included 440 eggs, the woods, a field, and a farm.  Just a small affair:)  Then we played the Amazing Race.  Let me just say my cousin Cathy is creative and a lot of fun to have around.  Thanks to her and her mom, Chris,  for all of their hard work! 

I pretty much have a crush on this little guy, Grant.  He's my cousin Jayne's youngest. 

Please don't tell Grant, but I also have a crush on Carter.  He's Brian's son. 

I'm pretty sure my cousin Ellie, Scott and Becky's youngest, enjoyed having the attention of TWO of her big brothers pushing her on this swing! 

This last weekend I went to Lansing, MI to see my aunt, Phyllis, and share a bit about my trip to Liberia.  It was a women's ministry dinner, international theme, amazing food!  The spring fling dinner with the women at her church was fun, but I just thoroughly enjoyed my whole time there.  We sat up gabbing until an obscene hour.  It was great fun, and I didn't regret the lack of sleep in the least! 
That's Phyll in the middle on the trip to the BWCA a few years ago.  Wow, 5 years ago already! 

It's been a great 5 weeks.  Whew!  I'm tired! 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Awesome Editor

Hettie is a very good friend of mine from my time with Mercy Ships.  She is currently with the ship, caring for people in the West African country of Togo.  Looking at the map, it's seems it's just a narrow strip of land, nearly lost in the many along the southern coast of West Africa.  Believe you me.  It is not lost and it is not forgotten, at least not in the eyes of the Awesome Editor of Life! 

Hettie writes newsletters periodically to friends, family and supporters around the globe.   She usually asks me to edit the letters before she sends them out.  My editing skills are by no means perfect.  I do, enjoy doing it though.  I probably should have gone to school for english lit or something like that.  Since I don't get to read and critique books for a living, I just help her out when I can.  Last night she sent me a letter to edit.  It was a fairly short one.  Here it is. 

I posted this in a hurry.  Please don't critique my editing skills:)

Obre is a baby who has a bilateral cleft lip and palate. He was referred to the Infant Program by a pastor from Benin. When he arrived he was 4 months old and weighed 2.81kg (6.2lbs). He did not register on any of the growth charts. He had a tube down his nose, put in by a local hospital to feed him. He was tiny for his age but alert with a lusty cry. We sent him home again, giving teaching to the mother on how to feed Obre with formula and an appointment to return to the ship in three days. On his return he had pulled out the tube in his nose,and had a fever. The doctor assessed him,and it was decided he could stay on the ship so that we could monitor his condition. He slowly began to deteriorate. He was having a progressively more difficult time breathing,and his heart rate was going up. It was a gradual progression,but we were giving him oxygen by mask,and he was struggling for life. It was that night that I decided I was going send out a letter in the morning to ask everyone to pray for healing for Obre. During the night, however, his breathing continued to be laboured,and his heart rate continued to increase. The doctors decided if Obre would have a chance for life they would have to put a tube down his throat to help him breath. The medications were ready and everything was in place to put the tube down. Before they began the procedure Dr. Parker said "Let's pray." While they were praying his breathing became less laboured,and his heart rate came down. The nurse that was taking care of him said that in her fourteen years of nursing she had never witnessed a life saving miracle.

He is now still here with us on the ship. We are slowly feeding him again. His mother loves Jesus,and is often praying over his tiny form.

I pray now he will continue with good health,and gain weight so we can operate to fix his cleft lip.

What an awesome Editor God is!  I read through this letter feeling sad and even a little bit cold.  When I went to Liberia a couple years ago I foolishly assumed that we were just doing surgery and people would all get better, be healed.  Not so.  There were patients that came to the ship with all sorts of illnesses.  Some had to be turned away because they were to sick to bring into a relatively closed environment, risking the health of the patients already there.  There were others who had all sorts of tropical diseases, most of which I had never heard of, lying dormant, but reared their ugly heads once the patient's system was weakened by the surgeries we did.  More than one patient died while I was there.  It was tough.  I have several friends and acquaintances that blog and are still with Mercy Ships.  It's not all the time, but there have been several stories of patients dying, both young and not so young.  It seems that there have been a lot of little ones who have gone to meet Jesus because their little malnourished bodies couldn't handle the strain of surgery.  (They do have a feeding program on the ship to strengthen them before surgery, but it's not always enough or their are other complications.  Hettie is actually the coordinator of that program right now.)  Anyway, I read this story sure that it was going to be another sad one.  They would do all they could.  It would not be enough.  The staff and the family of the baby would be heartbroken but comforted that the little one was with Jesus.  I nearly shouted out loud when I read this.  Isn't He amazing!  What an awesome Editor of that little boys life!  How great is our God that there is a little man named Obre sleeping to the rumble of the ships generators with his Heavenly Father beaming over him!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blessings and Babies

Here I am again trying to look back over nearly 2 months to try to chronicle a bit of what has passed.  I'm not sure I'm even going to try.  Tonight is the first night in a full week that I've had the opportunity to just be at home with nowhere I needed to be, well, except a trip to the grocery on the way home from work. 

As always, there have been a lot of things going on and a lot of things going through my head. I got a chance about a month ago to go to Virginia to celebrate my sweet niece's 1st birthday. It was a lot of fun. My sister, Laura, went along, so it was a good time to get to spend with her as well. Once I finish writing I may post a photo or two from that weekend. If things go my way, I'll get to go again with my parents over Easter. My little brother is preaching at his new church on Easter morning. That just feels a little odd to go listen to your little brother preach. I enjoy it, but it does feel a bit odd, nonetheless.

She may not appreciate me for this one day, but I love this baby with the crazed look in her eyes!
A little blurry, but still very cute.  It was tough to get a photo of these two ladies without Katie Grace trying to grap my camera, so it's taken in the mirror, me standing beside them. 
Katie Grace's first birthday cake.  An ice cream cone, with many scoops.  Ran a close second to Nottawa, for those of you who know what I'm talking about.  For those of you who don''re missing out!

Not exactly a photographic masterpiece, but I still like this one. 

I think I may have mentioned the possibility of working on a Master's degree in my last post.  I don't remember and I'm too lazy to go look.  That's still a pretty strong possibility.  Another suggestion came up for next year, so I really need to do some serious praying and thinking about the 3 year plan. 
A line from a song we sang at church a few weeks ago has planted itself in my gray matter.  "We'll be tested by the blessing."  That's all I remember.  I know I could figure out the song if I wanted to, but there's really no need.  That's enough for now.  It's still challenging me.  I think it's something that challenges most of us in the Western World.  We have so many blessings, at least physically and materialistically.  We certainly face difficult times.  Life is not always easy, but compared to the extreme poverty and lack of basic provisions (water, food, sanitation) that many endure, we have a lot of "blessings".  I'm not sure that it's always a benefit. 

When I sat down to start typing I was pondering two topics I wanted to touch on.  As my fingers started tapping, it hit me that the other topics ties in seemlessly.  I was recently telling someone that my first priority in life is my relationship with Christ.  After I said it, I had to stop and think.  Yes.  It is my first priority.  But do I live each day in a way that makes that obvious?  No.  I'm not sure why that particular instance spoke so strongly to me, but it did.  There are so many things that can distract.  Many of them are things we view as the "blessings" the line in the song hints at. 

Work, errands, meetings for church, emails, facebook, our favorite shows, coffee with friends, upkeep on homes/cars/property, reading for pleasure, shopping, blogging.  None of these are inherently wrong.  Many of them have extremely high value.  Some of them are very important.  That does not mean, though, that they should replace time with my Best Friend.  For me, lately, it seems there are plenty of distractions that have received more priority than my time with Jesus.  It's tempting to say I'm not in a bad place, just a bit of a complacent place.  That may be the worst place of all.  It's easy to cruise along looking like things are just fine.  They're not when you're not spending the time with God that He requests and is IMPERATIVE for us.  Today begins the change.  Ironic that stating my priority made me realize it was not where it should be.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

This And That

The wind is howling outside.  I love the snow!  I love hearing the wind and knowng that my Great Big God is in control of it.  It's really just a tiny example of the HUGE power He has!  I like knowing He's in control and still bigger than the wind.  Most would smack me for saying this, but I wish there were more snow coming down as the wind swirls around, making my windows shudder a bit.  My little brother lives in Virginia.  I live in Indiana.  It's crazy that their snowfall this year has been much more than ours.  I'm jealous!  For now, I'll just sit inside in the warmth, writing a bit of randomness. 

I frequenty say this on here, but life seems busy lately.  I guess it's good that I am able to take notice of it and attempt to take measure to focus where I need to and take time to rest and recharge.  Even though I've been busy lately, I'm feeling a little charged about school.  I have not made any firm decisions, but I'm thinking pretty seriously about grad school.  I've said for a long time that I'd like to go back to school, but was not sure what for.  I think I may have found something appealing.  Nursing/Healthcare informatics.  It's a blending of computer geek and nurse to boil it down to the simplest description.  I also enjoy teaching.  The thing I think makes this appealing is that I could have many job opportunities with informatics, but it would also likely afford me the option of teaching as well if I have my Master's.  I'm not sure where it will all lead, but it's an exciting prospect! 

In January I read a couple books that made me think a lot about perspective.  I think as humans, maybe even moreso as Americans, we find it very easy to live life in our own little bubble, not really aware of what's going on around us or where people are coming from.  We can try.  I'm not saying that we always fail, but it's not such an easy task to put yourself in the shoes of another.  The two books were Charleston by John Jakes and Eyes at the Window by Evie Yoder Miller.  Miller just happens to be the mother of my freshman roommate in college.  My book club picked that book for this month.  Both books cover quite a span of history.  Charleston begins in the early days of the American Revolution and concludes several years after the Civil War, the bulk of the story involves the years leading up to and including the Civil War.  Eyes At The Window is about the murder of an Amish baby that occurs in 1810, but the saga drags on for 50 years before the identity of the killer is revealed. 

As I read Eyes At the Window over Christmas and listened to Charleston on CD while driving it struck me that the two stories were both factually based, occuring roughly at the same time.  Other than the fact that they both take place in the US, the similarities stop there.  One takes place in Amish settlements in Pennsylvania and Ohio, the other in a southern coastal town.  The Amish strive to live a life of simplicity.  Charleston before the war was a city of lavish extravagance.  The Amish worked extremely hard for the simplicities of life - food, shelter, clothing.  The south was fighting in many ways to preserve their pampered life, which was made possible by the hard work of the slaves.  In fact, at one point in Eyes, it talks a bit about the fact that there were rumors of a war, but was so far away that most of the characters in the story had little grasp on the details of what was going on.  Ironically, there are some Confederate soldiers that spend some time in an Ohio prison near Erie, which means that the two stories intersected geographically to a degree.  The people in the two stories, though, had little idea of the existence of the others.  I could probably ramble a while with the compare/contrast theme.  It's funny that I hated those assignments in high school, and now I'm enough of a nerd that I'm doing it willingly.  It's interesting to me, though, and when you're updating your blog at 1am, that's what happens!