Standing In the Breath of God

The Discovery Channel has a show called Beyond Human Limits. Some pretty fascinating tales on that show. One in particular remained with me. A woman, a musical composer and arranger by trade, was suffering from unbearable headaches. She was examined and was found to have an aneurism at the base of her brain. It was inoperable. She was told by everyone that she consulted that it meant certain death. She then found a neurosurgeon who had perfected a technique that would allow him to operate on the aneurism, but in order to do this she had to first die. The procedure was done as a type of cryo surgery. The body temperature was slowly brought down in order to stop the heart and drain the blood from the body while at the same time the patient was given some specialized medication to stop the metabolism in her brain and therefore halt her brain waves. Technically…she is dead. I wont go into much more detail about that because what facinated me was her “near death experience”

She recalls being in the operating room, looking at the procedure. Is able to recall special instruments that were used, some very tiny, that some of the other technicians did not see. She can recall conversations that she could not have possibly heard because at that time they had her ear canals plugged and she had no brain waves. There was more proof, but still…not what stuck in my head.

She said that while watching this, she saw far off in the distance a pin prick of light (I know we all expected to hear that) and that she distinctly heard her grandmother calling to her. When she moved toward the light and the voice she remembered feeling that she did not belong there, that she had not led a perfect life, she was not a perfect person. She said her grandmother told her that no one is perfect and that she had to think of it as “we sent you away to school and we expected you to spill your milk. It is in the way that you cleaned it up that is the source of our pride.” (wait, it gets better)

She then asked her grandparents if the light was God. Their response to her was “That? No. That is what happens when God breathes.” She was astonished. “I am standing in the breath of God!”

Oh my word…could you imagine feeling that?!?!?

The story continues and she survives the surgery and recounts the events to several people and psychologists who try to say there is no way she could have remembered this since she had no brain waves but her neuro surgeon ended the argument by stating that it would be arrogant and egotistical to say that just because we can’t explain it, doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. (Kudos to that man!)

I don’t know, I think that the next time I find myself sitting in some sunlight (which is not even close to the brightness that this woman was describing) I might try to imagine that I am “standing in the breath of God!”

Christian One Liners

  • Don’t let your worries get the best of you; remember, Moses started out as a basket case.
  • Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited until you try to sit in their pews.
  • Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisors.
  • It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.
  • The good Lord didn’t create anythingwithout a purpose, but mosquitoes come close
  • .When you get to your wit’s end, you’ll find God lives there.
  • People are funny; they want the front of the bus, the middle of the road, and the back of the church.
  • Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.
  • Quit griping about your church; if it was perfect, you couldn’t belong.
  • If the church wants a better pastor, it only needs to pray for the one it has.
  • God Himself does not propose to judge a man until he is dead. So why should you?
  • Some minds are like concrete– thoroughly mixed up and permanentlyset.
  • Peace starts with a smile.
  • I don’t know why some people change churches; what difference does it make which one you stay home from?
  • A lot of church members who are singing “Standing on the Promises” are just sitting on the premises.
  • We were called to be witnesses, not lawyers or judges.
  • Be ye fishers of men. You catch them – He’ll clean them.
  • Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
  • Don’t put a question mark where God put a period.
  • Don’t wait for 6 strong men to take you to church.
  • Forbidden fruits create many jams.
  • God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
  • God grades on the cross, not the curve.
  • God loves everyone, but probably prefers the fruits of the spirit” over “religious uts!”
  • God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
  • He who angers you, controls you!
  • If God is your Co-pilot – swap seats!
  • Prayer: Don’t give God instructions — just report for duty!
  • The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.
  • The Will of God never takes you to where the Grace of God will not protect you.
  • We don’t change the message, the message changes us.
  • You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to……….discourage him.
  • The best mathematical equation I have ever seen:1 cross + 3 nails= 4 given.

Some of these are great, others are funny, others I have seen on church marquees, and some are a combination of all of those. They were sent in an email as a compilation so I reprint the list here in it’s entirety.

Just a song I enjoy

Something about this song just resonates with me…

You can listen to it by clicking here and then just clicking on the words at the sentence at the top of the page.

Breathe (2 AM)” by Anna Nalick (Wreck of the Day)

2 AM and she calls me ’cause I’m still awake,

“Can you help me unravel my latest mistake?
I don’t love him. Winter just wasn’t my season
“Yeah we walk through the doors, so accusing their eyes
Like they have any right at all to criticize,
Hypocrites. You’re all here for the very same reason
‘Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, girl.
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe… just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe
May he turn 21 on the base at Fort Bliss
Just today he sat down to the flask in his fist,
“Ain’t been sober, since maybe October of last year.”
Here in town you can tell he’s been down for a while,
But, my God, it’s so beautiful when the boy smiles,
Wanna hold him. Maybe I’ll just sing about it.
Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button, boys,
So cradle your head in your hands,
And breathe… just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe
There’s a light at each end of this tunnel,
You shout ’cause you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out
And these mistakes you’ve made, you’ll just make them again
If you only try turning around.
2 AM and I’m still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to
But you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand….and breathe, just breathe,
whoa breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe.
If you keep listening to the link above once this song is over it plays some clips from other songs on the CD. Some of the clips are pretty powerful. I downloaded the 2am single long before it became popular and purchased the CD shortly after. At the time I did not have a chance to REALLY listen to it. She has some pretty interesting and nearly profound lyrics and her mellow style is great when you are in the right mood…I must be in that mood. I am truly appreciating the CD right now and felt I should share it.
Lyrics that stick out from the song clips:
“But someday we’ll all be old and I’ll be so damn beautiful” (from the song Paper Bag)
“Driving away from the wreck of the day and I’m thinking ’bout calling on Jesus,” (from the song Wreck of the Day)

Lessons From Leaving.

I have a friend. Well, I have a few friends but today I am referring to my friend Tim. Tim had a birthday back on May 12th. I remember thinking on that date that I had forgotten something but moved on to other things and then two days ago it hit me: “Holy crap! I missed Tim’s birthday without calling or sending a card!” I have not missed his birthday since I met him a week before his 39th and this year he turned 48. So, after it hit me (while I was driving home from work) I called him and got his voicemail. My message was basically “I suck as a friend, please forgive me for forgetting your birthday, we have been out of touch lately, lets do lunch soon” He called me at home later that night and sprung some news that prooved that we had been out of touch. He is leaving, in (at that time) 36 hours. He has gone through some major changes in his life (that I was there for and/or knew of) and he is still recovering from them and decided that he needed a change of venue and he was going to give Austin, Texas a shot. He has family there that is going to help him and everyone is cheering him on. So we chatted a bit and I told him that I would like to see him before he left, to say good-bye, see him off. We were/are very close friends. He matters to me. So, after checking with my husband to confirm my plans, yesterday I went to see my friend after work. We spent an hour and half recapping the good, the bad, and the ugly that we had been through with each other and shared things that have changed in each others life since we had last seen each other. Ultimately, I knew going in what I wanted him to take with him to Austin: That I was grateful for his friendship and advice during a very difficult time in my life; then I apologized that I put him into that while he was dealing with his own difficult time; told him that I loved him as my friend; that I am glad that he is my friend; that I have nothing but respect for him and that I was proud of him for the decision he has made to move forward. I told him that I would miss him, though we had been out of touch recently, I always knew he was there and that he better make a point of utilizing email and cellular free long distance to keep me up to speed on the progress he is making (because believe me, this man will make progress) so that I can celebrate with him, or just cheer him on if he needs a cheering section.

Today, I find myself wondering: Do my friends know how much they matter to me? Do they know that I appreciate their presence in my life? That I love them?

I am so easily “out of touch” with my friends. I am not a big fan of the phone I use it for work all day long and I get tired of having an inanimate object stuck to the side of my head. I am too Crazy Busy to schedule “face-time” with them these days . What a big mistake.

I realized that soon, I need to make a point of treating each of my friends as if they were moving across the country in 36 hours.

Thanks Tim, for the friendship and the lesson. I will miss you. Have a safe trip. Did you pack your trusty old Dictionary? (inside joke)

Attention Corporate Office for McDonalds!

A recent post from fellow blogger(and Connections Pastor extraordinaire) Mark Waltz titled Sad Service Sightings compelled me to post about my own recent (?) poor service. I question whether or not it was recent because I think it was almost a month ago but I still find myself thinking about how AWFUL it was on a semi-regular basis, so much so that when I took my daughter to the doctor last week she was talking about poor service and my blood boiled and I started sharing the story with her. She was mortified FOR me! So, here is the story:

One fine evening I decided to go to McDonalds. Not my favorite restaurant but we were hungry, I did not want to cook, and it was close by. This particular restaurant on the West side of South Bend has never had the BEST customer service, but at least it was usually better than the KFC next door which NEVER gives me what I order, but I digress. On this particular day my husband and I ordered Quarter Pounder Value Meals, Paige ordered a hamburger Big Kids Meal and Breanna wanted fries and a yogurt parfait and a soda. Not a difficult order. We paid our money at window #1 and here is the order of events at window #2:

8:31pm – Window opens, young lady sticks an ice cream cone in my face.
I look at her and state “I did not order a cone”
to which she replies “it says cone”
“I ordered a parfait” (cone is still in her hand, she is pointing it at me)
“it says cone”
“I ordered a parfait”
“It don’t matter no how, they cost the same” (she pulls the cone in, goes further into the store and re-appears with the parfait, hands it to me and mutters something about it costing the same anyway and window closes, I sit stunned and bewildered at why she would choose to argue with me about what I ordered)
8:33pm – I hand the parfait to my husband and ask off hand “why, if I ordered a cone, would you give it to me before the rest of the order?” He shrugs, we wait.
8:34pm – same girl comes back to window and opens it and just stands there looking at us, not saying anything so I take the initiative and told her that we had a larger order. She says “Oh” and mutters something else about a cone and closes the window. We watch as she haphazardly fills our drink order and then begins to hand us the FOUR drinks individually! (Do I look like an octopus? Do you see 4 drink holders in my console? Come on! This is my pet peeve! More than one drink, you should assume or at least ask if I want a carrier) So, I ask for a cup holder and she begrudgingly takes the drinks and places them in one and practically shoves the thing at me. Then, she disappears.
8:36pm – still waiting
8:38pm – still waiting and being blatantly ignored. We had no chicken products, this is standard stuff that we ordered. Burgers and fries. Good thing we hadn’t ordered a cone or it would have melted. I notice a woman and child pull up, park and walk into the store.
8:40pm – I make eye contact with another store employee who is at the front counter – with her tush/backside/fanny ON the counter, her back to the store, slurping a drink (apparently on her break) and when she sees me motion for assistance she talks to someone in the back that I can not see…obviously the girls who is supposed to be taking care of us. So at this point I am being ignored by TWO people. (I notice that the woman that parked earlier is placing her order and watching the girls that have been ignoring me.)
8:41pm – Girl who was at window #1, and took our money, wanders into the window #2 area and makes eye contact and I make a motion to her and now I am being ignored by THREE
8:42pm – I motion to the girl lounging at the counter – and I mean, I motion BIG – both hands making the universal “come here” sign. She begins speaking to the invisible entity in back and mimics my same motion and continues to ignore me.
8:44pm – Girl who gave us the parfait and drinks returns with a bag and shoves it at me and retreats from the window. The burgers in the bag are barely wrapped, the fries are half full and worst of all there is NO CHILDS TOY! At this point I have been waiting for 10 MINUTES AT A FREAKING DRIVE THRU and the order is INCOMPLETE.
8:45pm – I motion to lounging girl again and she mimics me AGAIN! THAT’S IT! I pull up one car length – throw my car into park and storm into the store. When I get to the counter all the people who ignored me SCATTERED! I ask for the manager and the one person in the store not involved in this fiasco states that she will be right up – and she was. I begin to explain to the manager that I had just received the WORST service I have EVER received in my life. I am fairly forgiving to fast food places because you get what you pay for, but this was reprehensible. I don’t remember my exact diatribe but boy was I angry – I did not yell but boy – I must have looked pretty angry judging the looks on everyone elses face. I also explained that when a child orders a child’s meal the child expects to get a child’s toy! The cost of which is added in to the cost of the meal! I pointed out all of the key players (or whatever you want to label them) and she apologized, found a toy for me, said that they would be dealt with,
8:51pm – and I left. The lady who I had seen enter the store earlier walked out behind me and told me how glad she was that I had come in. She was witness to the antics of those girls from inside and how they were talking about me. She was offended by how rude it was to behave that way in front of OTHER customers. She was just as appalled at the poor service even though her own service had been fine.

I ponder, still, writing to their corporate office. I also pondered printing the names of the offenderss in this post but I would not want to embarrass their families. Then I think: my teenage daughter, who works at a McDonalds, has been taught since a very young age the importance of customer service. She can spot poor service from a hundred yards. Where did these people LEARN that it is okay to give such poor service?

For all people out there who deal with customers: No matter how much you hate your job you DO NOT take it out on your customers. Customers should think that you are having a great day and that you at least LIKE your job. If you hate your job, or are having such a bad day that you can not pretend to like your job then you need to save your employer and your customers some frustration by quitting or asking to go home for the day until you can adjust your attitude.

For all employers: I would rather be short staffed than have my customers experience poor service.

I still wonder if I should write to their corporate office. Bad service leaves a lasting impression but I want to end on a good note:

Prior to my poor experience with this particular store. I visited that same establishment during a weekday morning to get nothing more than a large Diet Coke. If I could have ordered an I.V. drip of caffeine somewhere, I would have but Diet Coke was easier to procure. Anyway, a fabulous man named Jay Swift took my money from me at window #1. He said Good Morning as if he meant it, asked how my day was going, took my cash, gave me my change and told me to have a blessed day. The lady at the next window was pleasant and had a smile on her face and if I could have read her name I would print it here. That left enough of an impression on me that I actually shared my PLEASANT experience with my daughter later that day. So, as you can see, good experiences are shared by me as well…just with fewer words.