Monday, April 30, 2012

Company and Cleaning

This weekend I had company and then I cleaned.

I know that seems backwards to most people - normally I'm one of those people - but this weekend was a wonderful reminder that the eternal things like relationships are so much more important and satisfying than the temporary things, like a clean house.

Friday night I had two of my cousins kids over for a sleepover. Between, pizza, movies, popcorn, a huge blow up bed in the living room, pancakes in the morning and playing spoons in the afternoon, it was a wild and wonderful success.

Saturday my brother, nieces and nephew came over along with one of my closest and oldest friends(as in time, not age) just to hang out. Popeye's chicken with coupons, more movies, a little basketball/park action and lots of great conversation made me forget about the coffee table doubling as a T.V. tray and the crumbs accumulating on various floors throughout the house. Not to mention dirty bathrooms (I did clean one toilet before the adults arrived).

Sunday was church, more great conversation after another incredible worship service, then lunch at Panera with a gift card and free soup with my member card! A jaunt to the library, another movie, and several chapters of back and forth reading with Maggie, (who jumped up 15 points on her MAP test!) capped it all off.

Today is my day off and I spent the first hour or so reading the Bible, praying and realizing almost all of my laundry was already done. After awhile I cleaned the kitchen, then the living room, then my son's room and in the process filled an entire box with garage sale items. Then I started on the basement and filled four more boxes for a garage sale.

My allergies are going nuts from all the dust, and I'm only 1/16th done with the basement, but all in all I got a lot of cleaning done today.

And I'm so glad it was all done out of order!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I've learned that when you pray for humility God is quick to answer.

Today was no exception.

Being divinely reminded that you have a tendency to think higher of yourself than you ought (see Romans 12:3) is a good thing. It doesn't always feel like a good thing, but it is. Here's gives you (or in this case me) an opportunity to stop and take a good long look at your own behavior - consider your motivation for it, your tendency to rationalize it, and then own up to anything that you know to be an offense to God. Or to use the less popular terminology - own up to the sin.

If I don't call the spade a spade, I don't get to the next step which is what the Bible calls a godly sorrow. The sorrow is what leads to repentance. The repentance brings me back to the Good News I knew in the first place. Jesus redeemed me. He paid the penalty for my offense.

That doesn't just wipe my slate clean, that motivates me to lay down my pride and extend the grace I have received to others. It causes me to be contrite.

And that's the kind of sacrifice the God who came to serve desires.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Musings

I was in a small group training at a church once that made the very helpful point that accountability has to be invited or it usually won't be received. Meaning you can't hold someone accountable who does not want to be held accountable...or who does not want to be held accountable by you.

Well, not many people read this blog, but I am inviting those who do to hold me accountable to begin posting at least weekly from now on. I am moving out of the romantic thought that writing is only for when I feel moved to put words on paper (or in this case, the screen) and moving into a more disciplined attitude that writing, like anything else in life, requires effort and improves with practice.

I have Mondays off so there's no reason why I can't carve out some time every Monday to post a little something on this blog.

So here's todays musing.

I met a friend for lunch today - a last minute invite which just happened to work out perfectly. I've realized the unplanned get-togethers often end up being the most pleasureable - like a happy surprise in an otherwise ordinary day.

This particular friend is moving out of state soon - in fact more than half-way across the country to that beautiful gem in California called San Francisco. I was glad for the opportunity to have some time with her knowing our days of spontaneous lunches are numbered. We had a wonderful lunch - good food, good service...but the best part was the good fellowship. She is a longtime friend whose company I enjoy, who always has kind words to say and who never makes me feel uneasy. Which isn't to say that she's never challenged me, she has, but always with grace.

I know I'm going to miss her, but here's what I realized...I have other friends here that I can meet for lunch, or dinner or some other kind of get together that maybe doesn't involve food. Whereas she is going somewhere new, far from here, where she knows no one.

I've only moved from the Chicago area once. It was twenty years ago, my husband went with me and I knew it was temporary. We lived on an army base (well just off an army base) in southern Alabama for six months. I tried to get a temporary job but it turns out the local paper's want ads were slightly less substantial than the Chicago Tribune. Three people were looking for nurses and four were looking for peanut crop farmers. My skills did not qualify for either.

One of the officers in my husband's training class encouraged me to volunteer on base. I did and it was the beginning of a long and rewarding experience of community service. It also introduced me to a diverse group of people I would have never met otherwise. I'm a pretty outgoing person, but I wasn't always that way and making new friends isn't always as easy as it sounds. While I certainly met a lot of people while volunteering, I didn't make any friends through my involvement with that group. It was the other army wives that were on common ground and that gave us a platform for becoming friends.

Having something in common can really get the ball rolling. So when my friend was wondering where she was going to meet people, I suggested the places she most often went would be a good place to look for new friends, starting with where she worked. She seemed skeptical and then talked about finding a church as soon as possible and trying to get connected there.

I'm embarrassed to admit that this wasn't my first thought. Especially since I work in a church and talk almost daily with colleagues about getting people connected with other members of the church. It occurred to me I may have been taking for granted the enormous support system my family has and the wealth of friends both current and potential that are in our lives because of our church. Because the church is more than a building, the church is the body of Christ, and just by sharing faith in the Son of God we are automatically made members of one body. That's a great place to make new friends.

And it makes it easier to watch my friend go trusting God has new friends waiting for her there.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Resurrection and Radiation

This is the week after Easter and the week after Easter is often a little bit of a let down.

At church we've been planning for months for this special time of year when people who don't normally attend church come to church.

After months of planning "outreach" events across three campuses, including the annual concerts with a full choir and orchestra and the popular "Eggtravaganza" events that bring loads of families out for Egg Hunts, Puppet Shows, Crafts and's over.

The outreach events brought about 2000 people through the church doors.

Between Good Friday and Easter Sunday another 4000 people attended worship services where I work and serve.

It was a huge answer to prayer, a wonderful time of celebration and an encouragement to those who put so much time and effort into spreading the Good News.

This week has been a little quiet. Today I was working on some tasks that had been put on the back burner for awhile. I have to confess, I was working at a less-than-urgent pace.

It's a little disconcerting to me that after being so intentional about proclaiming the Gospel so boldly and broadly that I have quickly settled into a business-as-usual mentality.

I'm working on that. Praying about it, really. Because the message isn't any less impressive, important or impactful the other 51 weeks of the year.

My father-in-law reminded me of that. With two words...

Thank you.

In mid-October of last year he was admitted to the hospital after they discovered a non-cancerous brain tumor that had been 90% removed ten months earlier had inexplicably grown back to it's original size.

After another seven hour brain surgery successfully removed 90% of the "new" tumor (the other 10% was too dangerously close to the brain to remove without damage) he suffered a mild stroke, developed a blod clot, had a stent put in for bleeding on the brain, had a traecheotomy, and gotten pneumonia.


I've heard him complain about two things in the past six months; his butt being sore (from lying in bed for five months), and being cold.

He's still on the traech, has had a feeding tube since the surgery and been through three different rehabs when not in the hospital. Last week, he began to make some real progress, standing for more than five minutes, pedaling a bicycle in the rehab "gym" and almost swallowing on his own.

Monday he started radiation therapy to prevent the non-cancerous tumor from growing a third time which it has already begun to do.

This week when I went to visit him and watched while the respiratory therapist gave him a nebulizer treatment and then suctioned out his traech so the fluid wouldn't build up in his lungs I was a bit in awe. Because when she finished, he intentionally and sincerely thanked her. Repeatedly.

Those of you who've cared for a loved one with a long-term health issue know how discouraging the process (and the places they are in) can feel.

This has been no exception.

And yet, for 25 weeks my father-in-law has plugged along after every set-back, thanking every person who has walked into his room, carted him off in an ambulance, slid him onto a radiation table, washed his limbs, sent him a card, called on the phone or otherwise let him know they care about his well being.

It reminded me of the Bible story where Jesus healed ten lepers but only one came back to thank Him (Luke 17:11-19). Jesus said “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

I'm thankful for the Cross and I'm thankful for the Resurrection.

I'm thankful I have a Savior who is faithful when I am not.

I'm thankful that my father-in-law is able to have radiation treatments and even more thankful that he's thankful about it.

And I'm truly grateful for the faith lesson the week after Easter.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How Quickly I Forget

It's been another busy season in the Eder household. Last week the kids were off school for Spring Break and in the course of eight days we had a nephew visiting from out of town, a surprise 25th anniversary party for my brother/sister-in-law, a trip downtown to the Museum of Science & Industry (go see the Mythbusters Exhibit while you can) and a short getaway to Lake Geneva for Dan and me.

Dan and I both took a couple of days off, but it's always harder to get out of the house than you think it will be while you arrange for what's ahead and for what you leave behind (namely kids and their schedules). My parents were gracious enough to watch our kids for our weekend away which I had long anticipated.

Dan and I rarely go away alone together and it had been a year since the last time we did it. I was more than ready.

Our trip - once it started, which was five hours later than planned - began beautifully with a smooth drive up to Wisconsin and that kind of easy conversation that comes on a recreational road trip. The hotel was fantastic (Mill Creek Inn if you're interested) and we had the best suite in the place with a perfect view of Lake Geneva and a peaceful creek below (hence the name). There was a hot tub in the room - bonus - and we were well relaxed before we went out to dinner at a new pub restaurant called Sprechers (I'd recommend that too) which had an extensive menu, a stellar waitress and a Friday night fish fry which Dan happily ordered. We came back to the hotel room, opened our last bottle of nice wine from Left Foot Charley's and watched a movie.

The next morning we slept in and casually made our way over to Egg Harbor Cafe for an equally splendid breakfast with another fantastic waitress. I couldn't decide between bacon and sausage or eggs and french toast, so I got all four. We got back to the hotel in plenty of time to check out, and made our way to the parking garage while discussing what we would do with the rest of our day and night (we weren't due back home until late that evening). We came to our car, put all our belongings into the trunk and shut it.

Including the car keys.

Our first response, by God's grace, wasn't complete panic. We went back into the hotel and called the police who were there literally minutes later. The officer helping us was phenomenal and quickly got our car door open. The problem was the trunk release latch has been broken for about a year and a 1/2. So still no keys. This poor man spent the better part of a 1/2 hour trying to get our back seats to recline so we could climb through to the trunk, but wouldn't you know it, the seat release button? It's in the trunk.

After he moved on we called our insurance agency who deployed a locksmith. We went to a Caribou coffee and sat in big leather chairs while we waited for him to arrive which was a little less than an hour later. Still not panicking, but increasingly concerned that the charge for the locksmith is going to exceed the cost of the hotel and we were really trying to do this on the cheap.

The locksmith arrived with his visiting brother-in-law in tow, along for what was seemingly a standard job for them. They stayed for five hours attempting to get into our trunk. They were unsuccessful. Here's where I started to forget all the wonderful blessings God has just bestowed on me.

Of course you don't know in the beginning that these things are going to take five hours so you stand outside in your not-warm-enough coat in the garage of the hotel - where the sun isn't shining - and you wait and expect that any-minute-now that trunk will pop and you'll be on your way. Well his van had every tool, contraption and device known to a man in the business for 35 years and yet none of it could trigger that lock.

We're talking about a 2004 Nissan Sentra. Oh the irony.

We called in the VIN #, got a key code, and cut a key.


By this time Dan was coughing, sneezing and developing a fever.

I was pouting.

In circles.

For hours.

So much for my romantic weekend getaway. Why do these things always happen to me? Such were the pitiful thoughts racing through my head as I attempted to find something to be grateful about, some way to glorify God, some way to encourage my husband. But I kept coming back to the "poor me" attitude and felt hot tears stinging my cheeks as I walked up and down the main strip in and out of stores alone, not daring to buy anything for fear of the key cost and hoping to keep warm.

My husband, God love him, did not complain one bit.

Around the sixth hour of being locked out I begged God to give me a word - something - anything that would help deliver me from my self imposed crisis. The thought that immediately came into my head was "Rejoice that your name is written in the book of life." Luke 10:20

So I rehearsed it to myself over and over while I walked in circles and waited for them to call it quits.

After five hours and exhausting all his bag of tricks the locksmith gave up and took his poor brother-in-law home. By God's infinite grace, he did not charge us one dime.

In the end, my parents drove up with our spare set of keys and we went back to Sprechers for dinner while we waited for them. We spent the first ten minutes thanking God for everything we could think of (a lot of those prayers included our kids and my parents). That and a glass of wine helped a lot.

Sunday was Palm Sunday. I was asked to read Mark 11:1-11 about Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem where the people laid their coats and palm branches on the road in front of him and shouted "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"

A week later the same people were shouting "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"

How very quickly we forget the Savior.

How very blessed I am that even when I am unfaithful, he is always faithful.