Love

We are all pretty familiar with the “love chapter” in the Bible.  I was listening to Christian radio today and there was a song that started off quoting part of it “If I give all I possess to the poor and give my body over to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3 NIV)

I don’t think that I love people. There are people that I love – I love my family, my friends and (some of) my coworkers…I love those people in my circle. But I don’t love people. They annoy me with their selfishness (But really, it is just my selfishness reflected back to me). I’m annoyed when they cut in front of me in line, when they take the last of an item, drive too slow, drive too fast, or take too long.

If I am understanding the Bible, I’m meant to love people. For a while I interpreted that to mean that I would just make a point to not get annoyed by them. But that isn’t love.  I see people who genuinely love people. I am not one of those. I don’t know how to become one of them. But it seems to be pretty important to love everyone, not just talk myself out of being annoyed by them and calling that love.

“And now these three things remain: Faith, Hope, and Love.  But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

16 Minutes

Last night I experienced the longest 16 minutes of my entire life.  My baby niece, Charlotte, put a toy road construction cone into her mouth where it became lodged in her airway.  My sister lives just down the hill from me, in fact, our backyards meet.  I’ve written out the timeline because while it was all happening, it didn’t feel like it was real.  That I wasn’t really standing in the yard holding my niece who was covered in sick and her own blood, waiting for an ambulance.  All while my five-year-old niece was hysterically following me around half-praying and half-screaming to me that “Charlotte can’t die!!!” Adrenaline is amazing, because it allowed me to check out of that situation enough to get things accomplished.  It made minutes last hours.

7:46 – Lisa calls me and I can hear it in her voice, a very panicky “Come NOW” is all she says and I run (like the wind) down the hill to her house where I meet Audrie at the back door who is crying and screaming to me that she doesn’t want Charlotte to die.   I had no idea what had happened.
I ran into the bathroom where I found Charlotte barely breathing (her breathing sounded very raspy as she was either breathing around the toy, or through the hole in it).  She had been throwing up and the toy was cutting her throat causing blood to come out of her nose.  She wasn’t crying, but it was because she couldn’t breathe enough to cry, she was standing up inside the tub looking at me, trying to breath, wanting to cry, unable to really do either one.   Audrie is kneeling next to me at the tub, still crying and screaming that she doesn’t want Charlotte to die.  Lisa is telling me to call “someone” and I ask “who, like Mom?  Or 911?” She replies with “I don’t care, just call somebody” It was then that Charlotte’s airway became fully blocked for a second and she wasn’t breathing, that I realized I needed to call 911 immediately.  In hindsight, of COURSE I should have called 911. For a bit I was beating myself up over not realizing that sooner, but when we realized that only one minute passed between her calling me initially, and me calling 911, I realized that I didn’t contemplate it for as long as I had imagined. 
7:47 I took Lisa’s phone and dialed 911.  As it rang, I realized that I didn’t know their address and so I walked outside on the porch so that I could find their house number.  Audrie has followed me out and is still hysterical, but starts yelling at me that I need to put the phone on speaker, because her mom’s phone won’t work unless it’s on speaker.  911 answers and I am telling them the situation “We have a baby who is choking on a toy, she’s 9 months old” and they asked me for my phone number – this wasn’t my phone and in this day of cell phones, I don’t have my sister’s number memorized.  But since the phone is on speaker, Audrie knows what they are asking for.  Through her hysteria, she starts screaming out the phone number. I ask her to calm down and repeat it into the phone, which she does.  (Awesome!!)
Unknown time – maybe still 7:47 or maybe 7:48 I go back into the bathroom where Charlotte’s situation is the same.  Very raspy and labored breathing mixed with occasional split seconds of not breathing at all.  She still isn’t turning blue and her face is only slightly red, so I know that she is getting oxygen, but I’m just not sure how long before the toy lodges itself just right and blocks her breathing entirely.  Lisa leaves the bathroom to change into regular clothes while Audrie and I are in the bathroom while Audrie begins to pray “We really NEED a miracle” she would say, mixed still with uncontrollable crying and “I don’t want Charlotte to die” Charlotte is still having a VERY hard time breathing, not much air is getting in – so I decide to grab her and take her out on the front lawn to wait for the ambulance.
While in the yard, she begins mixing between not breathing at all and even more labored breathing.  I just keep telling her “keep breathing, baby. Keep breathing.” A fire truck arrived first (why do they send fire trucks? But I don’t care.) I practically threw her at the fireman and he takes her and runs over to the ambulance which just behind him.  Behind the ambulance is a police car and then a rescue squad truck.  Almost immediately upon them arriving, there are five or six paramedics/police men, firemen with Charlotte.  They have her upside down and are shining a light into her throat.  They decided to take her to the hospital via ambulance.
Audrie and I ran back to my house so that I could also put on clothes (I was wearing shorts – the kind that you do NOT go out into public wearing) and Audrie was still pretty close to hysteria, although she has calmed down a little bit.  My neighbor who had been outside to witness me running, came over to make sure everything was okay.  Audrie tries to answer him, but she makes very little sense trying to talk to him, she was still bordering on hysteria.  He must have started walking over when the emergency workers arrived – since not much time had passed, it really had only been enough time for him to see the ambulances and then start walking over.  Although it felt like hours.
Lisa rides with Charlotte in the ambulance while me and Audrie rode in my car to meet them.  We got to the hospital the same time as the ambulance.  Just as we arrived Lisa texted me to say that they got the toy out. WHEW!! I was so happy to be able to share that news with Audrie because it brought her all the way down to calm.
8:02 I immediately called my mom back to let her know the toy had been removed.
The longest 16 minutes of my life.
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Time for a cat?

I just had such strong feelings about my frozen breakfast food that I was attempting to eat at 5:30 in the evening, that I emailed the company.  What have I become?

For your pleasure, I will share the note with you:

I recently purchased Marie Callender’s Cheddar Biscuit with Sausage, Egg, and Cheddar. The time on the box says 1 minute 30 seconds, but that leaves you with a frozen middle-of-the-egg. So, I add an additional minute. The biscuit also sticks to the bottom of the container, and I haven’t figured out how to keep that from happening.

(In writing this, I feel like I am recreating something that would appear on the humor section of Pinterest. Someone who takes their frozen breakfast foods very seriously. I’m not that person, I just don’t like my biscuit to be stuck.)

That’s right, I even called myself out on how ridiculous my note sounds.  I hope I at least make someone laugh.

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Kidd Kraddick

If you’ve never heard of Kidd Kraddick, allow me to make a small introduction.  He was a radio personality who hosted a syndicated radio show in over 100 markets in the United States. He has a charity called Kidd’s Kids, and every November they take families of chronically or terminally ill children to Disney World.  Anywhere from 40-50 families attend each year – and it’s the entire family. Mom, dad, brothers and sisters.  A carefree week for the family at the happiest place on earth.  No doctor appointments, (although they do take doctors with them, diseases don’t take a break just because you’re at Disney), no hospitals, just surrounded by families who know what it is like to spend a lot of time being sick.  On Saturday afternoon, at a charity golf tournament for Kidd’s Kids, Kidd Kraddick passed away.  The autopsy report has listed his cause of death as an enlarged heart and blocked arteries.  Whether he knew of this heart condition is between Kidd and his doctor.  I had wanted to blog about Kidd, but couldn’t figure out what to say.  Then, I commented on a blog post from a former employee of Kidd Kraddick in the Morning and it came out just right.  My comment will be posted below, if you’d like to read the original post, you can click here. (It seems the website has crashed, her blog is receiving too many hits.  Hopefully the server will come back up as traffic subsides.)

Her blog is back up, and here is my reply:

I don’t know if I can be considered a “long time listener” since I know that there are others like you who have listened for 20 years and longer. I am not entirely certain how long I have listened, but I know it was at least one year prior to Kellie becoming pregnant with EK, which would put me in the 8-9 year range of listening to the show. The first couple of years I was a casual listener. Then, October 2007 I donated to Kidd’s Kids for the first time. My niece was born just a few days prior to Kidd’s Kids day and I felt that I needed to pay my “healthy kid tax”. I think I gave $20, but that $20 made me more interested in the trip that year. I’ve given each year since, and with each year, I felt like I came to get to know the cast more and more. People came and went, but then Jenna and J-Si joined and it all seemed to settle into a very comfortable group. I listened to the show ALL THE TIME. I had the podcasts on my iPod for long trips, I listened in the morning getting ready for work, I had it on again in the evenings. On Saturdays, I would listen to it while cleaning the house. Over the 8ish years of listening, Kidd Kraddick (and the whole crew) became like friends. They were always there at the touch of a button.

I can’t imagine how the show can continue, and that saddens me – they are such a big part of my life. Strange to say about people I never really knew, but when you live alone and literally listen to them in all your down time at home and in the car, they become like family to you.

So that I end on a lighter note – Kellie retweeted from a listener earlier “The only thing that makes this sadder is that he died in the only state that ends with an A.” Well done, fellow listener. Well done.

I’m going to go eat some corn.

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Self-driving Car

My entire driving life, (which has now been longer than my non-driving life) I’ve wished a self-driving car existed.  Not for everyday use, I am quite capable of driving myself around.  My dream has been for road trips.  I live six hours from Chicago – how amazing to get in my car, set it, and take off.  Since I’d be able to read, eat, watch a movie, or even (If I were brave enough), sleep, I could easily leave at 3AM, let my car drive me to Chicago.  I could enjoy the entire day in Chicago, then set my car to drive me back home.  It wouldn’t matter how little sleep I’d gotten, the danger of falling asleep while driving would be eliminated.  I would, essentially, be a passenger.

How do you feel about a self-driving car?  I never really thought this would happen in my lifetime, but check out what Google is doing:

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Cancer

I wanted to just say this on Twitter, but I couldn’t narrow it down to 140 characters.  Maybe writing it out will allow me to condense it.

I know someone who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.  He noticed some strange bruising, and he went to the doctor.  Doctors tell him he has leukemia, transfer him to a big city hospital and begin treatment.  Prior to the treatment, he felt fine except for the weird bruising.  Midway through “treatment” and he has a multitude of physical issues that are preventing him from having the energy or ability to speak, eat, or walk around.  They are now at the stage of treatment where they back off the medicine and they say he is slowly starting to feel better.

So, my question is this: What just happened?  He feels fine. Receives treatment, feels awful. Treatment is ending, and he begins to feel fine again.

Chemotherapy, I am suspicious of you.  If I have a bacteria, the antibiotics don’t make me feel worse before they can heal me.  They just start attacking the infection.  There is a theory among food purists who believe that cancer is so profitable that the doctors have been brainwashed into thinking this is the cure.  Food purists will tell you that most cancers can be cured by a diet change.  (Please note, I said “most” or maybe I should even say “some”.  Also, please note that I am not a food purist and cannot be held accountable for their claims.  Though I do find them interesting.)

Eden Espinosa

Yesterday was a very long day – after I worked until about 12:30PM it was time to change clothes and get ready to head out of town.  I went to Franklin, Tn to the opening night of a new establishment called The Absinthe Broadway Cabaret.  Their very first guest was Eden Espinosa who I sort of, kind of (a whole lot) like.  I bought my ticket right away when I heard she was coming and incidentally purchased the very first ticket!  Because of that, I was able to sit front and almost-center to the stage and it was fabulous!!

She put on a heartfelt show and my only regret was that the audience seemed to be full of people who had no idea who she was.  How that happened, I’m not sure – I suppose maybe the opening of a new place made it the place to “be seen” for people trying to be all “in the know” of new musical happenings in Nashville.  Because of this, the place was full of people sitting back, arms folded, with an “go ahead, impress me” attitude.  It seemed to be a tough crowd.  My table had eight people sitting at it, two of us were together, and I suppose the other six came with each other.  During the second song, those six people got up and left. Front and center table and they got up and left in the middle of one of her songs.  Naturally, she saw this happen and sort of commented on it after the song.  At this point, I decided that I’m going to be as interactive as I can.  I Woo’d louder than I normally would have, laughed louder at her jokes, and just tried to let her know that I came to her concert because I like her and not because I wanted to “be seen” or “be impressed”.  I didn’t need to be won over. One of my favorite things about the show was watching her husband, Joseph, play the piano.  Songs he has no doubt played hundreds of times, and yet I watched him play with such passion that I could have watched him the entire night.  If the crowd had been better, I might have allowed myself to be drawn in by his playing.

If I had an email for Eden, I would send her a letter apologizing on behalf of the audience.  That I’m sorry it was half-full of people who didn’t seem to appreciate her amazing talent.  That I’m sorry they didn’t laugh when she attempted a Southern accent (which really was quite funny!!) and I’m sorry they were such a tough crowd.  I loved every moment of the show and I would spend the time and money to see her all over again because it was worth it.

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What I’ve learned

I am halfway through my Bachelor program as a Psych major and I realized over the weekend that I have learned a lot from my classmates.  You see, we go to school in cohorts.  This means that my group of about 20 students take all our classes together and in the same location – our teacher will rotate with each subject.  It puts us in a situation of being more likely to finish our degree and helps us gain support and learn from each other.  I realized this weekend that I have learned a lot from my classmates.

You can be too spiritual.  I attend a Christian university and every class period is opened with a short devotion, prayer requests, and then we are led in a short prayer.  I have a classmate who dominates prayer request time with “prayer and praise” as she calls it.  Pray that she will eat healthy, pray for a person in her church who needs a job, pray for her daughter to pass a test, praise that her parents blessed her with money and she was able to buy an iPhone, and the list could (and does) go on.  She takes up so much time every week, that nobody else bothers to speak up.  A few weeks ago she was down the hall during this time and other people spoke up.  One man has a son in prison and he has an upcoming opportunity to get out of jail after being in there for 7 years.  If the judge doesn’t let him out, he’ll serve another 10-20 years for a crime committed when he was 17 years old.  One girl is going through a divorce and asked us to pray that she would be able to find a place for her and her four children to live – she began to cry, she is under a lot of stress.  Another girl’s son is dealing with seizures and the doctors aren’t sure why. One classmate’s father just passed away and the family is having a very difficult time coping.  Another classmate has a brother with special needs and she asked for prayer that her family would find strength to deal with him as he is getting older and more challenging.

To hear what everyone had to say was heartbreaking to me.  I realized that many of them have been sitting on these needs because someone else always felt the need to dominate with (In comparison) petty needs and praises that are best offered during private times.

What I have learned from this is that just because you have the opportunity to speak does not mean you should.  While I may be quite thankful for having the money to have an iPhone, perhaps it is best to be grateful in private.  I’ve learned that it is very important to be silent and let others speak.  To listen.

Be quiet and listen. That’s what I have learned halfway through this program.

Smitten

My baby niece was asleep the other evening, she’d been asleep on my shoulder for about an hour.  A noise began to wake her and I lowered her into a classic baby-holding position and began to rock her.  She opened her eyes, looked at me, and gave me a soft and content smile.  I leaned down to kiss her cheek and she softly smiled again and nestled her head into my arm.  She continued to softly smile, looking intently into my eyes – this was a different smile than normal.  She’s only four months old, but I promise it was a smile that said “I’m happy to be lying here in your arms, and I like it when you kiss my cheeks.” My heart was bursting and I am smitten with her.

fear

Currently, my biggest fear is that all of the hard work I am putting into getting an education will amount to nothing.  That the only thing I will ever be capable of doing is being a bank teller.

I needed to tell someone.

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