A Life Well Lived

What if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy?

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?

Blessings – Laura Story

I heard this song on my way home from work yesterday. It was before I learned of Cheryl’s passing. This song has always touched me. When I saw that her life here on Earth was over the only thing I wanted to do was sleep. I don’t know if subconsciously I thought if I slept that I would wake up and this news wouldn’t be real or if I just didn’t feel like I could handle it right at that moment, but I went to bed.

Sleep did not come. I felt so much sorrow. So much loss. It’s always hard to lose the ones we love, but it seems so much harder when you’re just not ready to see them go. When my great grandmother passed away, I was sad but I had known for a while that her time was coming. Her mind would come and go, and her body was just simply worn out. It was time. It was welcomed.

But Cheryl, I was not (maybe still not) ready to let her go. I have been praying for her healing for months now. We hadn’t had enough time with her. I know that it’s selfish to still want her here when she has experienced so much suffering. As I lay in bed all I could do was think of the all the memories that I shared with her. I knew her my entire life. She taught me so much. With sobs intermingled with laughter I recalled the following life lessons from Cheryl.

1.How you address someone is dependent upon the setting. As I mentioned before Cheryl has been involved in my entire life. She taught some of the classes that I was in at church when I was very young, but when I was in 3rd grade she also became my social studies teacher at school. I had been prepped ahead of time by parents and grandparents that in school I was to call her Miss Allison. I did great the first day. the second day I accidentally called her Cheryl. She gently reminded me that at school she was Miss Allison. When I saw her at church later in the week I called her Miss Allison. She told me it was okay to call her Cheryl at church. I told her this was confusing and hard. She told me I would get the hang of it. I did. Now I know when to address friends with professional titles or to call them by name.

2. How to encourage others. In that 3rd grade social studies class she put up with some pretty annoying 7 and 8 year olds and their shenanigans. I like to think we were simply preparing her for success in the future. Even though we might have been a nightmare to deal with, she never let us see her disappoint (or fear; my class was known to strike fear in even the most prepared substitute teacher) or frustration. She simply encouraged us. I remember one particular assignment was to draw the U.S. Capitol Building. She told one student that his drawing looked more like a spaceship than the Capitol Building, but it was a very good spaceship. Cheryl never failed to have an encouraging word. She also taught me that stapler can easily be turned into weapon in that class, but that’s an entirely different lesson.

3. Fun can happen anywhere, anytime with anyone. When I was in 5th grade my Sunday school class memorized the books of the Bible. As a reward Cheryl, Sandra and Mike took us to stay a weekend in a cabin in New Harmony. We laughed so much that weekend. We called the church van “The Party Bus”. We made toilet paper hats and some wore Nanny socks. We drove by people driving slowly trying videotape the beauty of nature with deer that were just off the road, and we yelled “Your door’s ajar!” as we sped by. Cheryl almost caught the tree on fire trying to light the grill. We also realized the when the windshield wipers were down spraying washer fluid was like shooting a laser from the side van.  We may or may not have tried to hit some of the deer with it. Who knew 5th and 6th graders could really be friends with adults? The fun didn’t end as I grew up. My sarcasm was never lost on Cheryl. I could always count on her for a witty reply. I’m happy to say that as I grew up I was able to join her as an adult befriending members of our church youth group.

4. How to mentor others. I always view Cheryl as one of my greatest mentors. In my 30 years on this planet I have looked up to many people. Sadly, most of them have a found a way to let me down. People are imperfect. I recognize that, but Cheryl was one of the people that never let me down. She didn’t try to hide her faults or struggles. She lived a life that was real, sometimes messy, but always beautiful. When I was in chiropractic school I went through a time of indecision. I wasn’t sure where God was leading me. So I called on a few individuals that I knew I could count on to help me find my way. Cheryl always made a point to encourage me that I was doing the right thing and to remind me that God’s plan and timing are perfect. She was also there with a good kick in the pants when that’s what I really needed. After completing chiropractic school I moved back home to start practicing and I found myself in a new role at church. I began teaching the senior high youth Sunday school class. I’m not sure I had ever felt more out of my comfort zone, and that includes the time that I ended up teaching and adult Sunday school class filled with people double to triple times my age. That was intimidating. Teaching the youth class was terrifying. But Cheryl helped lead me. She showed me how important it was to be involved in there lives, and how important encouragement in this stage of their lives really was.

As I look back on the life that Cheryl so graciously shared with us all. I know that best way that I can honor her memory is to take these lessons and teach them to others. So when dealing with friends in a professional setting address them with the appropriate title, but remember that you’re still just friends in more familiar settings. Always find a way to encourage others even when they may not be at their best. Don’t forget to have fun in life. Laughter is too precious to be passed up. Finally, mentor others. Take the wisdom that the important people in your life have given you and share it with the world.

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?

Blessings – Laura Story

Last night was one of those hardest nights, but these lessons were the blessing.
Cheryl, you will be missed by so many, but your impact will live on for many years. Rest in peace.

Nerd Rage

That’s what it’s called when book lovers are up in arms about the fact that a movie didn’t exactly mirror the book it’s BASED on.

It’s something that I’ve not personally dealt with but have consequently dealt with most of my 28 years due to the book lovers in my life. Between my sisters, friends and boyfriend I’ve seen a lot of nerd rage. Being the one that never read books I never had an issue with the movies. I first read the Hunger Games series after seeing the first two movies. I have to admit, when I read the books I pictured the characters that were portrayed in the movies so I knew that I wasn’t coming close to experiencing what all the nerds were experiencing when the nerd rage came out.

After completing the Hunger Games I moved on to Divergent. I loved the series and couldn’t wait for the movies to come out. I finally got around to watching it last night. Surprise. Surprise. I don’t have nerd rage about it. That’s not to say that there weren’t parts of the story changed or that the casting of some characters didn’t fit what I had imagined, but I went into it logically knowing that there is no way that everything that happened in a 500 page book was going to fit into a two hour movie. When you can’t include everything some things have to be altered for flow of the storyline.

Andy and I both commented on some of the characters not being what we had imagined. Some of the characters we agreed upon, but others we both pictured differently from one another. As we discussed this I realized that the main issue the nerd ragers have is that they don’t see outside the bubble of their own imagination. While two readers/viewers might agree that the casting for a certain character is wrong if the characters were recast to fit the ideas of the first person the second person would still not agree with the casting because it was not what his or her imagination had conjured up.

That’s the beauty of imagination. We can make people and places look the way we want them to look. It’s part of what gives us our individuality.

You’ll notice that earlier when I mention a movie being based on a book that I put based in all caps. The movies don’t claim to be the book.  There’s a little thing called artistic freedom that occurs when a movie is based on something else. It does not have to be a carbon copy. For me as long as the core of the story is still intact I will not be upset by the differences between a book and a movie.

So for all you nerd ragers out there, next time you go to watch a movie based on a book keep it together when it doesn’t fit your imagination. It’s not the end of the world.

Having a Dog

When I was growing up my family had a Black Lab-Chow mix dog. Her name was Bridgette. (Good choice in keeping with the B-names, right? Bethany, Brittany and Bridgette. Fun and semi-related story: when she was a puppy we used to put her in the basement when we left the house to prevent her from destroying things. On one occasion my mother and I left the house early in the morning so she stuck her head in the bedroom and told my stepdad that Bridgette was upstairs in bed and Brittany, my sister, was in the basement. Their names were interchanged regularly.)

Bridgette as a pup.

Bridgette as a pup.

Anywho, I loved that dog. She had been a stray that showed up at our house while my stepdad was out of town on a business trip. I immediately requested that we keep her. My mom told us that if she was still around when my stepdad returned we could ask him. Then as she was leaving for work she said, “Don’t feed her.” When mom was safely out of sight my sister and I hit the fridge for some lunch meat. Needless to say, she stayed, and it didn’t take much convincing to get my stepdad to agree on keeping her.

I missed her a lot when I went away to college. She ended up with hip dysplasia, which is fairly common in Labs. One day when I was in chiropractic school I got a call from my mom telling me that they were having to put her down. She could no longer get up and it was painful for them to even lift her to get her to the vet’s office. I still have a picture of her on my dresser. Sometimes when I return to my parents house I still expect to find her waiting at the door to greet me.

One of last photos of Bridgette.

One of last photos of Bridgette.

She’s been gone for almost 3 years now. During that time I have had several friends offer to help me find a new dog. Unfortunately my living situation has not allowed for that so I spend time with other people’s dogs. Luckily, when I started dating my boyfriend I also gained a dog, Sally. I like to consider myself part owner (Sorry, Andy. She loves me too). In my time without a dog I had forgotten about all the hard parts of having a dog like cleaning up their messes and having to plan activities around their ability to control their bladder. But the negative aspects to owning a dog can never outweigh the positive ones. Here are 3 things I had missed about having a dog.

1. The Welcome. Whether you’re gone 4 minutes or 4 weeks the response is the same. They are excited to see you. Sometimes I feel like Sally is more excited to see me than Andy. Of course, that would be weird if he greeted me by barking at the door and shaking his tail so hard he was about to fall over.



2. The Comfort. When you’re down dogs can tell, and they know just how to snuggle up to you to let you know you’re loved. They’ll sit for hours with their chin on your lap because there’s nowhere else they’d rather be.

3. The Playfulness. Sally loves to wrestle and she’s pretty much always up for a game of tug-of-war with her rope. Even when Bridgette was older she would sometimes have a burst of energy and take off running through the house making figure eights around the dining room table. I admire their ability to drop everything and have a little fun.

Do you own a dog?  If so, what do you love most about him or her?

Do You Know About Leading?

There’s a great movie called Big Fish.  It’s about an older gentleman named Edward Bloom that tells a lot of “big fish” stories about his lifetime.  You should watch it.  Anyway, there’s a scene where his son Will is trying to confront him about some of it.  It goes as follows:

Albert Finney in Big Fish

Albert Finney in Big Fish

Will: You know about icebergs, dad?

Edward: Do I? I saw an iceberg once.  They were hauling it down to Texas for drinking water.  They didn’t count on there being an elephant frozen inside.  The wooly kind.  A mammoth.

Will: Dad!

Edward: What?

Will: I’m trying to make a metaphor here.

Edward: Well you shouldn’t have started with a question, because most people want to answer questions.  You should’ve started with, “The thing about icebergs is.”

Will: Ok, Ok, Ok.  The thing about icebergs is…

After I wrote this post I realized that I wasn’t really asking you a question.  I was actually just telling you about my experience.  So let me start again.

The thing about leading is…

It’s Hard.

Really hard.

Sometimes it’s hard because you have to be the responsible one when something goes wrong.  If a patient is unhappy with a portion of their care in my office, I am the one held responsible because I am the doctor.  I am responsible even if the problem is with a portion of the care I do not actively perform. As the business owner, when the air conditioner quits on the hottest day of the summer, I am the one responsible for making sure it gets fixed (read: calling Gordon and Grandpa to come the rescue).

Sometimes it’s hard because you have to make moral choices that are unpopular.  As a leader for Campus Crusade for Christ on my campus, I was responsible for bringing in speakers.  Some speakers that were offered up to me as choices by friends and classmates were more bent on the political message they were trying to send than that of a spiritual message.  It was hard, but I had to tell a few friends no.

Sometimes it’s hard because it’s lonely.  I have had several leadership positions in my lifetime.  I started as a club leader in high school for numerous organizations then became a leader in Student Government Association and Campus Crusade for Christ in college.  In chiropractic school I was a part of the Student Doctor’s Council and I was a part of some improvements in the clinic credit system. I am now a business owner, and I am just finishing up a position as a Sunday school teacher in my church.

Of all the positions I have held, leading other Christians is absolutely the hardest job.  Sometimes you feel like no one else cares.  I am sadly leaving my post as a young adult Sunday school teacher due to a lack of interest.  It’s  hard to be a leader when those you are leading don’t care.  I have progressively become more and more frustrated at the apathy of Christians in my generation.  Not just an apathy of the church, but an apathy toward every thing that’s important in life.  People will get into fiery arguments about books, television, movies and music, but they could care less about tending to the needs of the hurting. My arguments for involvement seem to fall on deaf ears.

I won’t give up leading in the church.  Even though it’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, it can also be the most rewarding.  My only hope is that the apathy of Christians soon turns to a burning passion and I pray that my pastor sees enough of us that care that he doesn’t burnout by the same premise.

“A Dweam Wifin a Dweam”

“Mawage, that bwessed awangement, that dweam wifin a dweam.” One of my favorite scenes from The Princess Bride movie is Princess Buttercup and Prince Humperdinck’s wedding. When the Impressive Clergyman tries to bestow some marital wisdom on the couple he speaks of a dream within a dream, inception, if you will.

The Impressive Clergyman

The Impressive Clergyman

My favorite thing about this book was that much like the “dweam wifin a dweam,” this was a story within a story. *WARNING* If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie and plan to you might not want read any further to avoid any spoilers.

The book is written by William Goldman as though it is an abridgment of a long historical book by S. Morgenstern. Goldman claims to have fallen in love with the original as a child when his father read it to him. As an adult he realizes that his father had left out all the boring parts. He, in turn, does the same to abridge the book for his readers. Throughout the book he stops and interjects his own comical thoughts claiming to have edited out 44 or so pages of unneeded descriptions of parties or packing or foliage.

I must admit, at first I was convinced that all this was true, but as the story progressed the interjections became more and more far fetched. At the end of the book was the first chapter of a fictitious sequel that Goldman supposedly wanted to abridge, but unfortunately lost the job to Steven King.

In my opinion, Goldman wrote a brilliant story. I’m glad this was the book I chose to start with. I love it and I plan to own the physical book. Reading this gave me a whole new respect for the story.

One last disclaimer, the proximity of this post to the last would make it seem as though I read this book within a few days. I actually started it last year. Don’t get your hopes to high that I came flying out of the gate to become a better reader. Hopefully I’ll be able to shorten the time it takes between books, but I don’t make any promises.

New Year’s Goals

I don’t know that I’ve ever made a New Year’s Resolution so I don’t think I’ll say I’m making one this year.  I do, however, have a couple goals for the year.  The first goal is to become a better reader.

I have been surrounded in life by people who love to read, and I have never been that kind of person.  My mom and sisters are big readers, my best friend in undergrad is now a librarian and my boyfriend’s compilation of read titles makes my reading skills look embarrassing.  For as long as I can remember my reading comprehension skills have not been the greatest.  I can read 15 pages of a book and realize that I have no idea what I’ve just read.  So I go back and start again and it makes reading a book a long process.  Even so, I know that reading is good for the brain, and someday I want to encourage my children to read.  Just as I don’t ask my patients to do anything that I haven’t tried first, I don’t expect to ask my children to do something I’m not also willing to do.  The best way to get better at anything is to practice.  So I’ve decided to spend more time reading.  To start I’m going to read The Princess Bride.  It is one of my favorite movies so I thought I’d start there.  I have a few books that I’ve decided I’d like to read this year, but I’m open to suggestions if anyone has any they would like to offer.  I don’t really know what kind of books I even like so I’m open to try about anything. My boyfriend likes reading as a stress reliever.  At this point I can’t say it’s a stress reliever for me, but I know what is.  When I shared my last post I realized how much I miss blogging on a regular basis.

That is my second goal for the year.  I want to spend some more time writing here.  It’s relaxing and it’s my happy place.  Some days the posts will be long.  Some days the posts will be short.  Some will be insightful, some will be funny, and some will be just plain ridiculous.  I think in order to keep myself motivated on my first goal I will have some posts about what I read.  I’m not going to tell you that there will be a post every month about a book.  It will likely take me longer to read most books than that, but I will do so when I finish a book.

So those are my New Year’s goals.  Feel free to share any reading suggestions with me.  Please remember that I’m “a beginner” so a 4000 page book might be a little overwhelming to me.

2013 Quotes Year in Review

I noticed recently that a few friends posted their 2013 Year in Review on Facebook.  I checked mine out but I doubt anyone else really cares to see my year in review.  Instead I decided to have my own Quotes Year in Review.  I compiled my top 25 favorite quotes recorded in the Quote Book for the year.  Some of them are funny if you know the context behind them.  Most are funny without context at all. They are listed in no particular order and I have withheld the names of the individuals that uttered these sayings to protect their privacy. So without further ado here are the top 25 quotes I recorded in 2013.

1. Behoove.  I’ve never used that word in public.

2. Nothing says I love you like a close-out.

3. I like it better when you were little and quiet.

4. They have all new anatomically correct clocks.

5. The extra ham is in the bathroom.

6. Person A: Who was the 1st woman recorded in the Bible to wear makeup?                          Person B: Mary Kay of Nazareth?

7. I’d rather sing in front of the Pope than speak in front of the church.

8. Nothing hard ever comes easy.

9. Better is better.

10. I was a lot better at this when no one was playing with me.

11. Not too many people are going into the nun business anymore.

12. Germans are serious about their beer and chocolate…and hate crimes.

13. This really does matter.  It’s not like math.

14. Nothing ruins the smell of a car like fear and poop.

15. It’s so hard not to tell your children to shut-up when you’re tired.

16. Person A: I could care less about the post-season.                                                                 Person B: Spoken like a true Cubs fan.

17. You can quit when Bob Johnson is puttin’ a tie on you.

18. Glitter is like the Herpes of the arts and crafts world.

19. My milk doesn’t get soggy.

20. I got a charlie horse ringing my bell.

21. Santa? I mean, grandpa?

22. If you didn’t put it in my belly don’t touch it.

23. Shh. This is my show.

24. Sorry I’m late.  My squirrel got loose and I had to chase it down.

25. Person A: Have a drink for me on your trip.                                                                           Person B: A cocktail?                                                                                                           Person A: Well, yeah.  I can drink lemonade at home.