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Jaidin and Jesus: The Passion

I had the most touching spiritual conversation with Jaidin on the way home from church Wednesday night. I asked her about what she learned in Girls GEMS club, like I always do, and she shared her memory verse and a few tidbits from class. And then she got real quiet and said “You know mom, you should have been at chapel today at school. You’d have really liked it”.

“Oh yeah”, I said. “What was it about”?

“It was about Palm Sunday”, she replied. “About how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey, and how the people were so happy to see him, so excited they were waving palm branches and laying down their coats for him. Pastor Riley brought palm leaves, and each of us got some. It was pretty neat. But then he talked about how the same people that were so excited to see Jesus  were the exact same people that a week later were yelling ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ ”

Then she said the most amazing thing to me.

“You know mom, I hope I’m never one of those people who praises Jesus and says I love God, and then turns around when things get crazy and does something like deny him, like those people did.”

Wow! I was blown away. And convicted. Because how many times have I totally been on fire for God, praising Jesus and following after Him, and then BAM! one little change in circumstances or a bad influence from someone else and my tune changes. In my years as a Christian, certainly I’ve gotten better about not being swayed by the wind or tossed about by rough seas. But I still strive to have the kind of faith that is not shaken, no matter the circumstance.

I told Jaidin that I would pray for her to always have faith, to always do the right thing and to never deny Jesus. But I also told her that there will be times when she will probably doubt, and not do the right thing, but God gives second (and third, fourth, fifth…) chances and as long as we’re truly sorry about whatever it was, He forgives us.

She said she knew that and was so glad that Jesus gave us a second chance through the crucifixion. Then she said “Do you think me & you & Daddy could watch the Passion movie?”

I hestitated, because while I think it’s a tremendous movie, I also think it may be a bit too much for an 8 year old.

“How do you know about the Passion of the Christ?” I asked

“Some of the kids in my class were talking about it at recess”‘ she said. “They said it was a movie about Jesus and that it made Riley’s mom cry.”

So I told her, “It made me cry too. I’ll talk to daddy about it. That movie might be a little too graphic for you.”

She was quiet for a minute, and then said “By graphic, do you mean real?”

Then I got quiet. Yes, REAL. That’s exactly what I was thinking.

As I drove quietly for a minute, the Holy Spirit spoke to me.

“The crucifixion WAS real. She’s asking for more than a movie. She’s asking you to help her understand exactly how much her sin cost.  To see what all sin cost. Show her.”

I was floored.

So… we’ll be watching The Passion of The Christ soon as a family, and I know that God will prepare her little heart to receive the full message of the Cross (and hopefully not not have nightmares!) If you have kids – have they seen The Passion? What was their reaction. What kind of a discussion did you have as a family afterward?



having an ostomy really stinks. (Yes, literally and figuratively). Yesterday was one of those days. Due to my own bad judgement Sunday afternoon ( I ate pineapple on pizza at the in-laws after church), I had a partial obstruction for about 24 hours. The bloated feeling started around 8pm Sunday night, followed by the cramps, the nausea, and all the other loveliness that goes along with a bowel obstruction.  By 1:30am my pouch was leaking because my abdomen was so distended and hard. Nothing more fun than rolling out of bed at that hour, fumbling around to find the ostomy supplies, banging into the bathroom door (and waking the dog in the process), and trying to do a complete wafer & pouch change in the light provided by the plug in nightlight because if you turn on the light the dog will think it’s morning and you’ll never be able to go back to sleep.

I got up Monday morning and manged to put clothes on, make a lunch for Jaidin and get her ready and to school on time. Back home I came and went down to my office to try and work. I sat at my desk with the heating pad, hot tea, and prayed to the ostomy gods to PLEASE relieve my suffering. I answered  the phone with my right hand and massaged my tummy non-stop with my left , hoping with all hope that the blasted pineapple piece would just pop out of there already!!

But the ostomy gods were hell bent on trying to teach me a lesson. At about 10:30am, I discovered that my pouch was leaking – AGAIN, so I headed upstairs to change it. During this change I discovered the fire engine red skin around my stoma that I had missed  in the earlier change done by nightlight. Oh joy. I have some nerve damage in the peristomal skin since my last surgery, so I cant always feel when my skin is compromised. No bueno!

I finished my shift at work at 4pm and moved myself to the couch where I resided the rest of Monday evening. Finally at about 8pm I got a major “movement” and started feeling better. Crisis diverted and no Emergency Room trip.

Today I’m sore as all get out and feel wiped out.  All that from a couple little pineapple tidbits. I know – most of you are saying ” Why in the world did you eat the blasted pineapple, dummy?” (Mom- I see you reading). Well, I ate it because my diet is a bit like playing Russian roulette. 9 times out of 10 I can eat “problem foods” (pineapple, nuts, coconut, mushrooms, etc) with NO PROBLEM. But, occasionally – that 9th time out of 10, they give me an issue. After years and years of a restricted diet due to IBD, and having my ostomy for 19 years, sometimes I feel it’s worth the risk  in order to occasionally eat a food I enjoy. Maybe I’m hard headed. Or maybe some days having an ostomy really does stink…

Having a uterus is a pre-existing condition?

Affordable healthcare should be of particular importance to women this election season, as new insurance-company data dissected in today’s New York Times reveals that women pay much more than men of the same age for individual insurance policies providing the same coverage.

So, not only do I have Crohn’s disease AND a permanent ilesotomy working against me in the health insurance circus, but now having a uterus is equivalent to having a pre-existing condition? LOVELY…


I’ve been blaringly absent from the blogging world the past 9 or so months. A lot has happened that frankly I’m not interested in putting on public display, so I’ve just not written anything. But I miss blogging – for me, it’s a type of journaling, and a way to chronicle important- and not so important things- that happen in my life. So I’m back. Here’s what’s going on as of late – in bullet points – because I’m just not clever enough at the moment to tie them all together with some profound theme as a skilled blogger would do 😉

  • Jaidin started kindrgarten in late August. According to her, school is “awesome”. Uh huh. I’ll ask her round about November, after she’s gotten up early every morning for 3 months and had homework 2 nights a week every week. I suspect her answer may be slightly diferent. Or maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised….
  • I’m officially a Spa Diva. In June I joined a company called BeautiControl as a consultant. I’d been to a few of their spas, and was looking for a part time job that would allow me to work a flexible  schedule, and BeautiControl kind of fell in my lap. So glad it did! I’m loving every aspect of it – and I’m making $$$. I’m not into shameless self promotion, so I’ll shut up now, but if you’re interested in having a mobile spa in the comfort of your own home, I’m your girl. Give me a call 🙂
  • Spent last weekend in the hospital, or “Big House” as I affectionately call it. Damn peristomal hernia! Always causing blockages. I see my surgeon on Monday to see when we may be able to fit surgery # 15 into my busy schedule. I’m so frustrated with my body right now. And on top of it all, I caught a friggin’ cold while in the hospital (damn nosocomial infections!), so the percocet I’m taking for abdominal pain is doubling as analgesic for my sore throat. Whoa is me…
  • I’m really sick of all the mudslinging going on with the presidential campaign. We’ve become a nation of partisanship, division and powerlessness of the present. In remembering 9/11/2001 today, I long for the day when we are no longer conservative America or liberal America, but are The United States of America.
  • Found this wonderfully awesome ostomy blogger today. Go check out her website and read her blog. She’s candid, fun, and she offers some great ostomy lifestyle tips.
  • Started reading The Shack about a week ago. This book blows so many ridiculous theological views of God out of the water – I’m loving it.  As the back cover says “In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, ‘Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?’ “. Anyone else read The Shack? What did you think?
  • I follow the blogs of  friends of a friend who are in the process of adopting two kids from Haiti.  The entire country of Haiti has been devastated by the recent tropical storms and hurricanes there, and the rescue center where these kids are staying is in dire need of help. Please go read Jamie and Aaron’s blog and search your heart as to whether you can help Real Hope for Haiti in any way.


That’s it for now. What’s new in your world? Send me some tidbits…I’d love to hear about what’s going on.

Tears and inspiration from a survivor and friend

I’m exhausted. I returned from Chicago today after wrapping up the UOAA Strategic Planning meeting. More about that later. But I wanted to share an email that was shared with me this weekend that absolutely touched my soul.

Those of you that know me well know of my admiration for Tony Snow, former White House press secretary. I had the pleasure of meeting Tony in February 2007 (you can read about it HERE). Tony is a colon cancer survivor, former IBD patient and an honorary Great Comebacks award winner. His cancer returned this past year just weeks after I met him at the Great Comebacks awards ceremony. I’ve not only followed Tony’s journey with cancer because of the IBD and ostomy connection, but also because of his strong faith and the spiritual journey his disease has taken him on.

At the meeting this weekend, a fellow board member and past Great Comebacks award winner shared with me an email from Rolf Beinerschke, former San Diego Charger kicker and founder of the Great Comebacks program.

Tony Snow may be losing his battle with cancer, but the grace and humility he has shown in his journey, and the lives of those he touches along the way will leave a legacy that reaches far beyond the grip of death.

Dear Great Comebacks family,

Earlier this year we had the privilege of meeting Tony Snow and his family at the National Great Comebacks Award celebration in Washington DC when we presented him with the 2007 Honorary Great Comebacks Award for overcoming the challenges he faced as a result of colon cancer. As we’re sure you will all agree, it was a very powerful evening. Ironically, however, ten days following the celebration Tony learned that the cancer had returned and he again had to endure the difficult chemotherapy treatments. Rolf just received a copy of Tony’s testimony and asked me to send it to all of you who had the opportunity to meet him. It is tremendously articulate and well written and a powerful reminder for all of us of what is really important. Please keep Tony and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Warm regards,

Barb on behalf of Rolf


This is an outstanding testimony from Tony Snow, President Bush’s Press Secretary, and his fight with cancer. Commentator and broadcaster Tony Snow announced that he had colon cancer in 2005. Following surgery and chemo-therapy, Snow joined the Bush Administration in April 2006 as press secretary.

Unfortunately, on March 23, 2007 , Snow, 51, a husband and father of three, announced the cancer had recurred, with tumors found in his abdomen,- leading to surgery in April, followed by more chemotherapy. Snow went back to work in the White House Briefing Room on May 30, but has resigned since, “for economic reasons,” and to pursue ” other interests.”

It needs little intro… it speaks for itself.


“Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, – in my case, cancer. Those of us with potentially fatal diseases – and there are millions in America today – find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God’s will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence “What It All Means,” Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.

The first is that we shouldn’t spend too much time trying to answer the “why” questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can’t someone else get sick? We can’t answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.

I don’t know why I have cancer, and I don’t much care. It is what it is, a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.

But despite this, – or because of it, – God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don’t know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.

Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.

To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life,- and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many non believing hearts – an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live fully, richly, exuberantly – no matter how their days may be numbered.

Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease,- smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see, – but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance; and comprehension – and yet don’t. By His love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.

‘You Have Been Called’. Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet, a loved one holds your hand at the side. “It’s cancer,” the healer announces.

The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa. “Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler.” But another voice whispers: “You have been called.” Your quandary has drawn you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter,- and has dragged into insignificance the banal concerns that occupy our “normal time.”

There’s another kind of response, although usually short-lived an inexplicable shudder of excitement, as if a clarifying moment of calamity has swept away everything trivial and tiny, and placed before us the challenge of important questions.

The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of Paul, traipsing through the known world and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes ( Spain ), shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.

There’s nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue, – for it is through selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do.

Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with the prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried for Jerusalem before entering the holy city. From the Cross, he took on the cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for forgiveness on our behalf.

We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us, that we acquire purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God’s love for others. Sickness gets us part way there. It reminds us of our limitations and dependence. But it also gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A minister friend of mine observes that people suffering grave afflictions often acquire the faith of two people, while loved ones accept the burden of two peoples’ worries and fears.

‘Learning How to Live’. Most of us have watched friends as they drifted toward God’s arms, not with resignation, but with peace and hope. In so doing, they have taught us not how to die, but how to live. They have emulated Christ by transmitting the power and authority of love.

I sat by my best friend’s bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took him away. He kept at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old friends, and at least one priest. Here was an humble and very good guy, someone who apologized when he winced with pain because he thought it made his guest uncomfortable. He retained his equanimity and good humor literally until his last conscious moment. “I’m going to try to beat [this cancer],” he told me several months before he died. “But if I don’t, I’ll see you on the other side.”

His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn’t promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity, – filled with life and love we cannot comprehend, – and that one can in the throes of sickness point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms.

Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don’t matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?

When our faith flags, he throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it. It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up, – to speak of us!

This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.

What is man that Thou art mindful of him? We don’t know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us who believe, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place, in the hollow of God’s hand.” T. Snow

Brain Dump

What’s going on. In random bulletpoints. Of absolutely no order of significance.

  • We’re back from Florida. All in all, it was a good trip. Jaidin was so excited about her first plane ride, and this is the first trip to the ocean that she’ll remember (We went to Destin when she was 15 months). It rained the first two and a half days we were there, was beautiful the next two and a half, and was a rainy the last day. We squeezed in as much pool and beach time as we could and did indoor stuff the rest of the time. I’ll post the pictures soon.
  • I read an entire book while we were in Florida, and boy, was it a good one! There’d been some buzz by some friends of friends about The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne, so picked up a copy before we left for Florida. I have so many thoughts on this book but couldn’t even begin to put them to words right now. But I will be posting more, because this book has seriously messed me up and challenged me in a good way. So for now all I have to say is, if you consider yourself a follower of Christ…not a liberal, not a conservative, not a Protestant, Catholic, Charismatic or whatever…but someone who wants to seek a better way of doing life…this book is for you. Check it out.
  • I just finished watching Rock of Love with Bret Michaels. I had to tape the finale while we were on vacation, but they just re-ran it right before they aired the reunion show, so I watched both. Not exactly quality viewing, but my goodness, what a guilty pleasure. What a train wreck of a reality tv show. Love it! And I’m SO HAPPY he chose Jess. 🙂
  • Learning Hebrew has proved to be quite the challenge, but I am undeterred. I seriously spent one whole day at the pool with my Hebrew for Dummies book, and I really only conquered a few words and one simple sentence. It’s really hard when you don’t have a native speaker to “practice” with. I’m going to take lessons at a local Jewish college, but they only offer the course a few times a year, and unfortunately, right now doesn’t coincide with either of those times of year. So for now it’s me, my book and the ‘net. Maybe I should get some of the Rosetta Stone software. Anybody know if it’s effective???
  • Bath and Body Works new scent Pumpkin Pie Paradise = A little slice of heaven. Can you say YUMMY? I bought the lotion, the bodywash/shampoo AND the home fragrance oil.
  • I read an article lately about a new online dating site that caters to people with chronic health related issues. Prescription4Love.com I suppose I understand the appeal (being upfront about health related issues prevents the “big reveal” that those of us with chronic illness deal with in relationships), but as someone who has a chronic illness (Crohn’s disease) and some extra baggage…literally (ileostomy), I never felt the need to limit myself to having relationships with only other ostomates, IBD’ers or people with another health “issues”. More thoughts on this later…
  • Cleveland sports suck. The Brown’…augh! The Indians are doing well (except for NOT sweeping the Yankees tonight). But I promise you, even if they make it all the way, I will NOT jump on the bandwagon. I’m too jaded. And another thing…I DON’T CARE IF LEBRON JAMES IS A YANKEES FAN!! OR THAT HE WORE A YANKEES HAT TO THE INDIANS GAME! He gets paid to win basketball games for Cleveland, which he does. Who he roots for in baseball is none of my concern. I can’t believe, with all that’s going on in the world, this is considered news-worthy. *rolling my eyes*

That’s all for now. Stay tuned…