Thursday, January 26, 2017

Intrinsic



"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for a reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed."  Albert Einstein


Americans, in my humble opinion, embody this quote.  

"What's in it for me?"

"What will happen to me if I don't?"

Isn’t that what we hear most often from our children?  Sadly, adults are following suit. I wonder…

How many people would file taxes if they KNEW there was no punishment for not filing?

How many people would go to work if they didn't get paid?

What happened to a good, solid work ethic? Putting in a hard day’s work for the sake of doing a good job?

How many people go to church because they are afraid not to?  Either afraid of being judged, or afraid of God's wrath. I grew up in a church like that.  As long as your butt was in the seat, you had fire insurance, if you know what I mean.  And if you weren't there, you better be out of state or dying.  {And I'm not saying don't go to church, I'm just using this as an example to get to my point.}

This is my question:  what ever happened to intrinsic value? 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has a wonderful definition of intrinsic: “belonging to the essential nature of a thing: occurring as a natural part of something.”  Like breathing.  It’s just part of you.

Intrinsic.  Indwelling. Deep-rooted. Organic.  That “thing” inside that tells you the right thing to do.  Just because it’s right.

When did everything become about getting something in return, or doing something just to avoid punishment or repercussion of some kind?  Whatever happened to doing the right thing just to do the right thing?  Or being kind for the sake of being kind?

What about our relationships with God?  Do we “use” Him to get things?  Are we only interested in His blessings, but not willing to walk in obedience? Do we “love” Him so that He won’t be angry at us or throw a bolt of lightning our way?

“I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
    a little child to the cheek,
    and I bent down to feed them.” Hosea 11:4

Our God is so loving and good to us. He doesn’t withhold His kindness or blessings from us even though we deserve none of them!  Our Father’s only motive is love.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3b

I have a challenge to everyone who reads this:  do something kind “just because”. The whole "commit random acts of kindness" and "pay it forward" clichés have been around for a while.  But seriously, when is the last time that you did something nice for someone else, just to do it? Not because you wanted anything from them or because you felt you owed them something. Just because.

Do you have an elderly neighbor who is alone 90% of the time?  Go visit.  Take your kids.  Your children would be learning history from one who has lived it, and your neighbor would be filled with joy. We can learn more from one hour talking to older folks and asking them to tell us about their lives than we could in a month of history books.

Do you know someone who had a recent illness or injury?  Ask if you can clean their house. Bring a meal over to them.

Is someone at church looking for a babysitter?  Volunteer your time. Just because it’s the right thing to do.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25:34-36


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

If Old McDonald Had MG

I've published this before on this blog, but I seriously think everyone just needs a good dose of funny today.  So without further ado:



{to the tune of "Old McDonald Had A Farm"}

Old McDonald had MG.  Gasp, choke, cough, pee, barf.

And with MG he had some docs.  Gasp, choke, cough, pee, barf.

With some "ologists" here and some "ologists" there,
Here a doctor there a doctor, everywhere a specialist,
Old McDonald had MG.  Gasp, choke, cough, pee, barf.

And with MG he had symptoms.  Gasp, choke, cough, pee, barf.

With headaches here and fevers there,
Here a tumor, there a blood clot, everywhere a drooped eye,
Old McDonald  had MG.  Gasp, choke, cough, pee, barf.

And with MG he took some meds.  Gasp, choke, cough, pee, barf.

With steroids here and chemo there,
Here some CellCept,  there some Mesty, everywhere some plasma,
Old McDonald had MG.  Gasp, choke, cough, pee, barf.

And with MG he got no sleep.  Gasp, choke, cough, pee, barf.

With a bad dream here and a flashback there,
Here hard mattress, there no breathing, everywhere insomnia,
Old McDonald had MG.  Gasp, choke, cough, pee, barf.

And with MG he was-a-germophobe.  Gasp, choke, cough, pee, barf.

With infection here and pneumonia there,
Here bronchitis there gastritis, everywhere some hepatitis,
Old McDonald had MG.  Gasp, choke, cough, pee, barf.

And with MG he heard it all.  Gasp, choke, cough, pee, barf.

With a "lazy" here and a "fatty" there,
Here a "whackjob" there a "headcase" everywhere a mental illness,
Old McDonald had MG, {big finish...pretend you're a Rockette}

GASP......
CHOKE......
COUGH......
PEE.....
BARF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

**DISCLAIMER**
Old McDonald really does NOT have MG.  This was written by an actual patient with an actual disease that's actually called MG.  Old McDonald is still happily on his farm.  No animals were harmed in the writing of this song.

All posts are copyrighted and the personal property of Kerri Sweeris and may not be reproduced or copied without permission.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

In Real Life




In real life I am a mom, a wife, a sister, a friend, an aunt, a great-aunt, a child of God, a writer, a scrap booker, and a patient.  Not PATIENT, A patient.  As in medical patient. While I try to do what I can and then some, while I try to ignore who I am, I cannot.

That's me, in real life.  I WANT to be different.  I want to be healthy and have 6 kids and homeschool them all and go to the park and climb hills and breathe well every breath.

But that's NOT me, in real life.

In real life I have to contend with
bills,
appointments,
an 10 year old who doesn't always understand sickness,
judgment,
budgets,
doctors,
medications,
side effects,
cooking,
cleaning,
laundry,
and trying to live every day to show God's love and hope.

In real life I get sad and depressed at times and wonder why.  I try not to dwell, but in the realest of realities it's impossible not to wonder.  Not to say, "If only..."

But instead, I CHOOSE to say, "Even if:"

EVEN IF I am not healed this side of heaven, I will praise the Lord.

EVEN IF I am never in remission from this hideous disease, my life will go on.

EVEN IF people laugh at me for struggling, I will forgive.

EVEN IF I have an incurable disease, I WILL also have incurable HOPE.

EVEN IF I have limitations and weaknesses, I will choose to live STRONG.

EVEN IF I need help and no one comes, I will still help others.

In real life, it's about how you act.  It's about what you DO that really matters.  You can spout trite clichés and tell people you're sorry and that you're praying for them, but what are your actions saying?  In real life, that's what matters.

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Lost Relationships




Sometimes it's so subtle you don't even realize it's happening...until one day, you wonder when the last time you talked to so-and-so was.

Other times, communication just flat out stops. Sometimes you even reach out for a reason when a person just suddenly, completely stops talking to you.  And they never give you the time of day again, let alone tell you what you did that caused them to just shut off. And you know it’s happened again.

Another relationship lost.  Succumbed to “busy-ness”, or work, or distance, or something you can’t even explain away.

There have been studies on animals (I'm not saying they're right or wrong, so don't go all PETA on me....I'm just making a point) where if an animal is abandoned at birth, and is not touched by another being...animal OR human, they will die.  As in, never-take-another-breath dead.

I saw on CNN a couple of years ago that people who have less than 1.5 (not sure how you get the .5 part...) "face-to-face-real" friends, as opposed to Facebook, twitter, etc., shorten their life span by 8 years.  These "friends" are people you talk to almost daily, people you see on a regular basis, people you get together with and do things with.  They had some psychiatrist specializing in socialization on there, and he said isolation is as dangerous to people as cigarette smoking.

Wow.

I guess I'm in big trouble. I *did* just start a Bible study with my friend JoAnne, and that is beyond awesome!! Thank God for her, or I’d be in super-big trouble!

I know people have lives.  I get that. I can get really busy with homeschooling, writing, just plain life. But I'd like to think that I'd make time for others. If I were healthy, I'd like to think that I would get out and visit people who can't get out themselves.  I'd like to think that Jacob and I would visit people in the hospital, and people in nursing homes, and people in prison, and people with chronic illness who just need some cheering up.

I’ve always wanted to volunteer at soup kitchen, or work at food pantry. It’s always the germ factor that gets me.  As I have said before, people with Myasthenia Gravis (MG) have to be very careful about getting sick.  People with compromised immune systems, like me, don’t die from old age.  We die from a cold that turns into pneumonia, which can lead to being intubated on a vent…So any kind of cold germ is very dangerous.

As a matter of fact, my sweet MG friend Rachel got the flu that her son brought home from school.  That turned into an infection, and yesterday she was hospitalized in ICU with a bi-pap machine helping her breathe. It’s very, very real.

I DO live in the middle of nowhere, and there's nothing I can do about it.  We can’t afford to move, and Jacob and Doug LOVE it here, so I’m in the minority. And that hampers a lot of people from coming out.  Especially in the winter, which I totally get.

When I saw the study about people with mostly “social media” –type friends, I have to admit, it kind of threw me. It made me realize what I already knew in my heart to be true: real people, real, in-the-flesh friends, are vital to living.

Thankfully I now have 2 ladies whom I see on a regular basis…one of whom I mentioned above, and another lovely, godly woman who has been faithfully coming to my house every other week for several years now.  What a blessing!  What a godly example of visiting the sick! And I have another friend who comes over maybe once a month. 

I encourage you, if YOU are in need of some face-to-face “real” friends, please reach out.  Please. Don’t stay isolated and alone.  Reach out to someone…anyone. A local church or youth group, a family member, and old friend… Just don’t let your computer or your tablet or phone take the place of flesh and blood.  It really isn’t the same thing.

And if you KNOW someone who IS alone, who is isolated for the majority of their waking hours, please go visit them.  Call them up, send them an email; how you get a hold of them isn’t important.  Tell them when you have some time, and ask them what you can do for them.  You may never fully realize the gift you are giving them.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Busy, Busy, Busy!


photo courtesy of The New Professional
 
I truly cannot believe how BUSY everyone is! I can't believe how much people take on. It's like the busiest, most exhausted person wins! But wins what? Lost relationships? An ulcer? No sleep?

I have to admit, I use to be a busy person. My illness slowed me way, way, WAY down. TOO "way down" if you ask me. But it really makes me treasure what's important. I guess if there's one thing I'm thankful for in regard to having a chronic illness is that I try not to take important things for granted. I ask myself.... Will this matter a year from now? What about 10 years from now? It may matter an HOUR from now, but does it have ANY lasting value?

Here's a big shocker, folks, hope you're sitting down.

It's not a competition.

If you get everything done on your list of 17 things to do today, but had no contact with a true friend, or helped no one, or didn't pass on a kindness to a stranger, then did today really matter?
I KNOW I can't be the only person on the planet who genuinely cares about people, and will make time for what's really important. But that's the key. You have to MAKE time. My theory is that if it's important enough, you'll find time for it. You find time to watch your favorite program. You find time to eat dinner. You find time to go shopping. You find time to read a good book. You find time to ______. And I'm still preaching to the choir, because there are many times that I could spend with God, that I choose to do something else...watch TV, read, etc. We just have to prioritize.

Some folks genuinely have busy lives because they ARE taking care of others; a sick friend, an elderly parent, a down-on-their-luck neighbor. And bravo to you! But don't forget that even in doing all these "Good Things" you can still be too busy.

In our world of immediate gratification, it is important to learn to slow down. I have had to by force. But it really has made me step back and see that so many of us are, or were, just like crazy little ants running around and going and going and going.....

So please. Take a minute to stop today. Stop and spend a few minutes in complete silence. Stop and spend a moment in prayer. Stop and just breathe! Stop and drop a card in the mail for a friend, or a shut-in at church. Stop, and ask your pastor what you can do to help. Everyone is “busy”.  However, if something is important enough, you WILL find time for it.


For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV