Be an overcomer

Rev21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Let’s decide to be OVERCOMERs today.

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Smile vs whatever that was.

Sitting outside waiting on my girls and watching people come and go, picking up kids or driving themselves- most have serious looks on their faces, rarely smiling as the go about their business. I’m reminded how precious a smile. It communicates to those around.

I’m challenged. Did I project those qualities that a smile represents today? Did I show joy, peace and goodness through a smile today? Some but not always.

Now what does the alternative communicate? Fear, frustration, stress.

There’s my challenge for my life. I want my witness to show who my Father is more accurately. To show joy, peace, goodness, an love through a smile.

For those of you who seem to almost always have a smile on your face – thank you. It is noticed and appreciated.

Keep it up. I hope I can repay it to you.

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I am my brothers keeper

As I sit here praying over what words to say at a memorial service tomorrow, I am overwhelmed with how fragile hearts are and how massive of a responsibility we have for each others hearts.

We are our brothers keeper in so many ways. Its in how we treat each other; how we either protect the hearts of those around us or we trash them.  Its our choice to decide.  No matter what some else says or does, its still our choice.  We don’t have the luxury to blame our bad choices on others.  We still have the ability to step up above the evil to make a proper choice.

So often we react when we should respond and our relationships take the blunt of those bad choices.  We are our brother’s keeper.  We have a responsibility to to each other.  Not in a false burden bearing, fix everyone else’s problems for them, type of thing, but to do our part to protect each others hearts.  To do our part to be available when someone hurts, to be that shoulder to cry on, that friend to laugh with.  There are so many things in this world that are intellectually designed to tear us down, to break our will to follow Christ and walk in his precepts.  As fellow air breathers, we should be building up and encouraging each other not trying to bring each other down.

I pray tonight that God continues to bless each of us with people in our paths that encourage us, that have our hearts and our best interest in mind.  For those looking out for us.  I also pray, that we are mind full how important good Godly, encouraging relationships are.  That as we go out into the world that we are not of, that we are the example of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance that God was to us.  That we remember to treat people the way we would want to be treated and not less than important.  That we protect each others hearts, to the best of human ability with God’s help and direction, that we can.  Have a great nights sleep.  In Jesus name , Amen.

T Scott Harper

 

Who You are is NOT What You do

Over the past few years I have heard this statement, Who you are is not what you do.  I have heard it so much that is has honestly been a bit irritating.  Not because of who said it or how much it was said but because I didn’t understand what it meant.

Now, you may look at it and grab the concept with out a single issue.  For me, not so much.  It has taken me a journey to really see it.  Ok, maybe not really see it all the time, but to seriously start to get the idea.  See, life, in most cases, has taught us that our identity is based on our accomplishments and our failures.  We have accepted this to the point to “drive” us into comparisons, jealousies, and all types of stress.

There are a lot of us that have grown up with the mentality that we HAD to perform for someone to love us, to accept us, to make us feel apart of the group.  We have altered our personalities, we have sacrificed proper healthily relationships for what, short lived acceptance, fair weather friends and success.  We have based our entire IDENTITY, who I am, in what – some one else’s opinion, in some one else’s success or even someone else’s life.

And this has gotten us where –  full of anxiety, stress and competition?  Let’s go further, its brought us a lack of self esteem and self acceptance, a fear of failing and we find ourselves dwelling on what others think in a fear of man.  We find ourselves in a world of hating who we have allowed ourselves to become cause we don’t have a base line on who we SHOULD be.  If we don’t know know who we are, really know who we are in God, we have nothing to stand against the temptations of life.

It is the simple fact of accepting that who we are isn’t about what we do but who God created us to be, His Son and Daughter.  It’s in that simple fact, we are able to find our peace, our rest.  It’s in that rest, the lack of trying so hard, the lack of driving ourselves into the ground to prove something for someone else, that we know we were created for a specific purpose in this specific time and place.

It has taken me 40 years to finally start to see it, to feel it, to accept it and walk in who God wants me to be.  Now, by no means have I arrived.  I have only started this journey, but what an awesome journey.  No matter the ups or downs, the failures or the successes, I AM a Child of the Most High God and that alone I can stand against the schemes of anything that tries to convince me otherwise.  I have my peace in the fact my name is written in the Lambs Book of Life and thats the only record, reward or “name in lights” that truly matters.

Adventures in Appendicitis, The Surgery

As we started to settle into our room on the 3rd floor of the hospital, met the nurses and figured out what we were in for, Sarah met a temporary friend, Morphine.  I am not entirely sure I want to say friend, unless the friend was Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Sarah was in a huge amount of pain, more so than I have ever seen her in.  At one point we were talking and she said that child birth was nothing compared to the pain she was in.  That says a lot.  So when she was given a pretty good dose of Morphine, I started to relax a bit as she started to rest more, but it was short lived.  I say short lived for two reasons: 1 – it only touched the pain for a short time; 2 – it made Sarah have weird dreams.  The pain I could work with, the dreams, that was harder to deal with for me.  There was nothing I could do but pray.  Now don’t get me wrong, prayer does amazing things and did do amazing things in that hospital room for Sarah and myself, but there was still the Fixit part of me that couldn’t do anything to help her.  That was the most difficult part, seeing my best friend and wife laying there hurting and nothing I could do to fix it.

Now our adventure in the 3rd floor room was only suppose to be till the surgery, which was scheduled for first thing in the morning.  As Friday progressed, so did our waiting as the surgery was postponed for a plethora of reasons (Sarah will be so excited I used that word).  We waited patiently until we were finally lead down stairs for surgery around 645pm on Friday evening.

One of the issues that Sarah had with the morphine was being seriously lethargic, enough I called Mom and Dad for some extra prayer.  Her vitals were good but the lack of food and water for over 24 hours mixed with morphine had me a bit concerned.   Mom and Dad arrived and Mom asked Dad to pray for Sarah.  Dad, being Dad, said “I have been praying.  Sarah’s gonna be fine, I might need to pray for you two, Me and Mom”.  Ok, honestly, it freaked me out a bit.  Sarah was really fine but I am so glad Mom and Dad were there to pray and help me keep my mind and heart in the right place.

Let me remind you of the timeline of our Adventure up to this point.
Thursday
730pm – Arrived at ER
830pm – Seen by Triage Nurse
900pm – Walked to the Trauma Room
Friday
0230am – Admitted to Hospital and settled into the room
Morning Time – First scheduled surgery (postponed)
Right after Lunch – Second Scheduled Surgery (postponed)
230pm  – Next Scheduled Surgery (postponed – Emergency C-Section)
430pm – Next Scheduled Surgery (postponed – Emergency from ER)
530pm – Next Scheduled Surgery (postponed – still on patient from ER)
645pm – Lead down to Surgery Pre-Op room

WOW – that was a lot of waiting in pain – and a lot of Morphine to counter the pain.

So Sarah is lead into the surgery room, and Mom and I go back up to the room to wait.  That totally sucked.  I did not like the waiting part.  The surgery did not take more than 30 mins, add on another 30 mins waiting for post op and then she’s back in the room with us.

All of this to say, I am so blessed it all went well.  During each of our prayer times, it was both to keep our peace and to lead the surgeons.  Keeping my peace was the hardest part.  You have to know something about me, I am really good in the midst of Trauma or an Emergency.  Its a couple days after that, that it hits me and I have to process things.  I am very blessed my best friend and wife is recovering very well.  I know people have lost loved ones and have had closer calls than this, but I can’t imagine what my life would be like without Sarah.  We work too well together for this to be a solo act.

Thank you Father God, Papa, for bringing us through this safely.  Thank you for our health and for always being by our side.

We have learned a lot about ourselves during this time, what fears we still need to work on seems to be the biggest.  Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us and with us and to those that have helped in the recovery by supplying meals till we get back to normal.  We have an awesome family and an awesome church family.

Thank you.

Scott

 

Adventures in Appendicitis, the ER

More or less, this is the first real day that even remotely things feel closer to normal.  Now normal is strictly related to ones perspective.  People look at our lives and gasp in our endeavors of how we can do what we do, but to us, its normal.

Now our normal was turned a bit crazy last week.  Sarah started having some major pain in her side.  It elevated to a point of requiring a trip to the ER on Thursday evening.  Now, I don’t know about you, but when I visit an ER, I expect to be Triaged in a timely manner.  Now again we venture into the concept of perspective.  For my personal opinion, Triage should start their assessments when you first walk in and sign in, to ask what you are there for and start to prioritize those arriving without prior reservations to their establishment.  Now I also understand busy nights at popular community centers, but this night was different.  We walked in, approached the triage nurse and signed our name.  We were not asked our purpose but being the concerned husband, I offered we were there for extreme pain on her right side.  We were given a clip board and asked to sit down with the some 30 other people in the waiting room.

I understand being busy.  I understand waiting to be seen.  I understand that almost every bed in the ER had someone in it.   I don’t understand sitting there for over an hour before the triage nurse asked the first real question about what Sarah was suffering with.  Even after all the vitals were taken and questions asked, it was still another 20-30 mins before we were lead to the back.  I give Sarah props, she kept an awesome attitude through the pain and waiting.  It seemed to come easy to her.  I was impressed.  For me, it was a bit more of an effort to keep my sanctification.  I also give the nurses respect.  The delay was not their fault, but the fault of the organization’s leadership.  It was just bad planning.

Now the next part, as awkward as it was, was funny.  As our sweet hostess and guide lead us back to our treatment room, she found an interesting surprise, a body.  Now, as she walked ahead of us, we did not see the body at first, just witnessed her sudden retreat backwards.   Now at the moment we didn’t laugh, as the nurse called to verify the room number and argue the fact that there was a body in the supposably empty room, but did later on.  To make sure she saw what she saw, the nurse asked me to look into the room to “make sure” of what she saw.  As I push the door open a bit, I was honestly expecting to see some who had passed on, not some guest passed out curled up in the fetal position.  The nurses were a bit set back as they walked us over to the trauma side of the ER.

Granted, I have probably already made this story longer than it should be, but there is purpose to be shown.  We continued our waiting in the trauma bay, listening to the ER radio, watching people come and go and praying for as many people as we could.  It really was heart breaking sitting there listening to so many people hurting, some with family but most without.

Through our waiting, blood work, CT Scan, pain and more waiting, Sarah was confirmed to have Appendicitis and was admitted into the hospital around 0230 am to await surgery.  And I do mean WAIT.

 

Adventures in Appendicitis, The Surgery to be posted tomorrow.

 

Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna

Ingredients:mex las

2 pound lean ground beef or chicken
2 large onion, chopped
4 cups salsa
1 can of Lime and Cilantro Rotel
2 can (15 ounces) black beans
2 can (15 oz) refried beans
4 tablespoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 package of Flour tortillas
2 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend

1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Directions:

In a large skillet, brown the beef and onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.

Stir in the salsa, rotel, beans, taco seasoning and cumin.

Layer tortillas in a 10 x 14 baking dish coated in Cooking spray.  We use a glass dish.
spread a layer of refried beans
spread a layer of meat/bean mixture
spread a layer of cheese
Repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before topping with lettuce, tomato and cilantro. Yield: 16 servings.