August 29, 2009

A Glimmer of Hope

I was listening to James Dobson's Focus on the Family yesterday. Lucy Swindoll was on for the second day as guest speaker talking about how we are really called to do only one thing, reflect Christ in all we do. No matter how small we may be in the eyes of the world, if we shine a glimmer of Him to those around us, it can have a tremendous impact. She shared about her family, her mother, father, brother Orval, and other brother Chuck, the pastor and Bible teacher who I've listened to and admired for many years.

She described her brother Chuck as an eternal optimist saying he simply refused to dwell on the negative, something that perked my ears because I tend to be a "half cup empty" kind of gal. She said one year in seminary he walked into Hebrew class to find the chalk board filled corner to corner in Hebrew. It was the test they were about to take. Later she asked him if he failed the exam and in his calm optimist fashion he replied, "Yeah I failed, but I won't always fail." He later became president of that seminary.

His response to a very stressful and intimidating experience brought tears to my eyes because it is so easy to feel like a failure. The moment I take my eyes off God and fail to see what He has done for me, my self-esteem plummets. The instant I forget to listen to His still small voice lead, guide, and lift me, the enemy's lies begin to overtake, as I sink deeper and deeper into the pit of despair.

What a comfort to know that though we may fail, we won't always fail because Christ has lifted us up. He has bridged the gap from our frailties and faults to His healing and holiness, and when we apply this to the trials of life, we have great hope that drowns out any despair. For instance, our little Dani may be disabled, but she won't always be disabled because in heaven she will be healed. My biggest trial, heartache, and life-long challenge is only temporary because my happiness does not hinge on whether she is disabled or not, it stems from the hope I have in God and His Son Jesus who loves me enough to die on the cross for my sins and the sins of the world.

Think for a moment. What failure or disappointment has overcome you this day? Have your eyes drifted from God or your ears grown dull to His sustaining whisper? If so, choose now to abandon the lies that condemn and focus on the truth that through Christ you have victory and hope! Remember God's love that gave it's all so that you can walk through life with a joy that shines His light for all to see and receive.

How Deep The Father's Love For Us

by Stuart Townend

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocing voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that helf Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I knoww that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast inJesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

August 22, 2009

Blogger's Testimony

I recently had the opportunity to hear a young man, Zach Bieghler, speak about his experience with blogging. He travels around the country sharing his testimony and with his permission I share it with you. His is a sobering story with many lessons to be learned and much as our Lord does through scripture, Zach uses his experience as an example of what we should never do.


My name is Zach Bieghler and I’m a paramedic in the State of Kansas. I have served with various EMS agencies in South Central Kansas as well as for an educational institution. I’ve been a paramedic since September of 2005 and in EMS since 2002. I’ve spent the last six years of my life dedicated to EMS, working as much as I could, between multiple EMS jobs to gain knowledge and experience. Life was good. I had recently become established enough to buy my first home in the town of which I served. I was taking various EMS courses to be a better instructor for my students of which I taught. Life as it seemed was on the right track I hoped and dreamed for. Unfortunately, that dream came to a sudden stop, which came by no one else’s fault but my own.

In April of 2007 my EMS partner and I were called out for an inter-facility transfer. The patient had several medical complications, in addition to being severely obese. Several hours after the call and when the report was finished, I sat down at the computer, while on the clock mind you, and entered There I started a “blog” which I wrote about the call I had just ran hours before. Out of respect for my previous employer, I’m not going to discuss what I had written in the blog, but to say ashamedly, it was vulgar and offensive and related to the patient’s level of obesity.

I had written the blog for my friends to see only, most of which are in the EMS profession. I later discovered that I did not have settings adequate on to prevent the general public from viewing. I wrote the blog to share my experiences and to make them laugh. As a healthcare provider, we all must be empathetic and sympathetic towards all patients regardless of the situation. As I wrote this blog, my empathy for this patient was absent. I didn’t think about the anger, humility, and mistrust that could have manifested by the patient towards me, my agency or my profession. Not to mention a legal preceding that could have been initiated by the patient that could have damaged my agencies trust and reputation. This will present a tough, but extremely important lesson to learn as time goes by.

After I had written the blog, time went by as usual. As months went by I had actually forgot that I had written the blog. I had actually cared for this patient two more times since the blog for various reasons. As I continued caring for him I grew to like the patient. I remember one time as I entered his residence he greeted me by first name with a smile. You have developed a special bond with a patient when they remember you by name and you remember them. At this point, I would have deleted the blog from my site, but as I said, I had forgotten all about it.

In September of 2007, a co-worker reported the blog to my employer. This initiated a meeting between my Director, hospital Vice President and my agencies attorney. While participating in a mass casualty drill I was pulled away and escorted to the Vice President’s office. I knew it had to be a significant matter to pull me away from such a training exercise. Completely oblivious as to what was going on, I found myself in the office with the Vice President of Operations and the Director of EMS. I was immediately confronted with the blog that I had written. I had a rush of emotions, the most powering being sorrow for what I had done. I was instructed not to talk about it, delete all work related blogs immediately and was given a 30 day unpaid suspension. My Director also told me that he would more than likely be reporting the incident to the Kansas Board of EMS.

In a state of complete devastation I arrived home and immediately logged onto and deleted every blog I had ever written. I found out that evening that two of my co-workers had also been suspended 30 days without pay because of my personal blog and their return comments. I’m the author and they got suspended as well! I had never lived with such guilt in my life as I felt then. So guilt ridden in fact, that I lost 10 lbs over the next few days.

I continued to work for the educational institution during time I was suspended. After a week of my suspension, the Dean of Instruction at the educational institution received a letter accompanied by a copy of my blog. Now, this blog not only caused my problems at my EMS service, but my secondary job as well. This resulted in a very stern meeting between me and the EMS Program Director. The Program Director is my mentor and I had really let him down. Not only did I let him down, I let down the entire staff and students at the educational institution. The guilt and disappointment in me was starting to become unbearable. Serving a thirty day suspension from my career and my primary source of income took its toll. I had to completely drain all of my savings to stay afloat. All of this resulted because of my poor choice of judgment. I soon found that things were just starting.

I returned to work after my suspension and found myself working with those extremely disappointed in me. After a couple of days and a few talks with co-workers, things only improved by a little. I will never get that full respect back that I had prior to the incident and I wouldn’t ask for it either. What I did was wrong and hard for anyone to forgive. Still guilt-ridden and disappointed beyond words, I found myself having difficulty coping with what I had done and fell into a deep depression.

February of 2008 rolled around; I was enrolled in an Instructor Coordinator class to further my education and passion to teach. I found that my Director did in fact report the incident to the Kansas Board of EMS. The Board’s Investigations Committee was meeting in just days. I had contacted the Board and confirmed the news and was told that a decision would be made at the meeting later that week. The week passed slowly by as I waited in horror. Friday came and I contacted the Board office. I found that a decision had been made to revoke my Paramedic certification. My world was soon spiraling out of control.

As one could imagine, the process to revoke a license is not a quick and painless process. The process took months. Not knowing when my license would be revoked and trying to concentrate on my career was painstaking. One of the hardest things to complete was my Instructor Coordinator class, uncertain of my careers future path.

I had finally started to build my savings back up and was advised to seek an attorney. This was another financial hit from my original mistake. I hired an attorney to help me through the revocation process. A total of nine months passed since my original suspension. Nine months of guilt, anguish, disappointment and depression, I finally received a consent agreement. Given the options and willing to accept my mistake and consequences of my action, I signed the consent agreement. This agreement listed several things, to summarize, I was being revoked for no less than 90 days for professional misconduct emphasizing on a possible violation of patient confidentiality.

Consequently, I resigned as a paramedic for the service I worked for and had to quit teaching, which is something I’m very passionate about. I had to take a job as a vendor merchandiser, stocking shelves in grocery stores. Working alone everyday gave me a lot of time to think about what I had really done and who I had disappointed. Having resigned from the EMS agency and not being able to teach, I roughly took a 60% pay cut. Once again, the financial burden, for my moment of poor judgment, continually hung over my head. During this time I relied very heavily on my family, friends and mentors. As I relied on them, they too suffered, feeling the ups and downs of the process. Also during this time I sought counseling for my actions from a mental health hospital. Having completed the counseling I learned more about empathy and it’s importance. It instilled in me the importance of patient confidentiality as I found myself as a patient in a mental health hospital.

After barely struggling though my 90-day period it was time to try and get reinstated. I knew that it was possible that the Board could extend my revocation or worst yet revoke my MICT indefinitely. I soon found myself sitting in front of the Investigations Committee in Topeka, in a small room, crowded with people I didn’t know. I felt alone as I really only knew three individuals there, two of which testified on my behalf. As I stood out in the hallway with the panel during deliberation, I felt sick with emotions. “What if they say no?” was all I could think of. I thought about how much effort and time (6 years) I had put into my career. For what? All for the chance to blog on

The large group in the hallway filed back into the conference room as I took a seat back at the table in which I had testified at. The decision was made to reinstate my MICT! This was all I could ask for. There were two conditions that followed: 1) Write an article for the KEMSA Chronicle, which would also be published on the KSBEMS website, and 2) make myself available to any EMS agency across the State of Kansas to speak about what I had done and the consequences that followed.

Having listed the conditions stated, I want to emphasize that I’m not writing this article because I have to. I am writing this article to educate other EMS professionals. What I did was wrong and should never happen to anyone. I want people to learn from my mistake. I have heard several of my colleagues talk about calls that they had ran, some even in the same format as what I had wrote. We in EMS all have to know that “blogging” has consequences. Each and every bit of electronic postings must edify the profession, other technicians, ourselves and the patients we serve. I want my colleagues to think twice before saying or writing anything about the patients they care for. We have to be empathetic, put yourself in their shoes. Or as the hospital Vice President asked me in her office, “What if that patient was your mother, father, son or daughter”? As to the second condition listed, I would be more than happy to discuss my experience with your employees, co-workers or students. This is free of charge as required. You can schedule this by contacting me by email at

I would like to thank the Kansas Board of EMS for giving me the privilege and opportunity to share my experience with others. I would also like to thank KEMSA for publishing this article. Also thanks to all my family, friends, colleagues and my counselor who has supported me through this trying experience.

Thank you Zach. May the Lord restore you fully and completely.

"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up." Psalm 71:20

August 17, 2009

I Was Right!

I just love being right because I am so often wrong. I don't know how many times I've approached Jimmy like a little girl handing her daddy a broken doll and asked him to fix my laptop. With the patience of Job he listens to my story, takes it, fixes it, and hands it back to me good as new. When I ask what was wrong he often chalks it up to user error; a nice way of saying it was me.

Recently, however, I relished in correctness. Dani woke up cranky and in need of her velcro pressure vest. Jimmy knew it would help turn her day around and began hunting for it high and low. Unable to find it, he called me and asked where it might be. "It's either in her dresser, on her bookshelf, or in her closet" I said, knowing without a doubt it was indeed in her room. In spite of my instructions he was unable to find it and ended up taking her to work a bit frustrated at the futility of it all.

The next day, while he was on a photo shoot, I went into her room and resumed the search. Tracing the same steps, I promptly found the vest on her closet floor. It was a bit hidden in the shadows, but there nonetheless. Alas! It was time for a little fun.

Grabbling the vest off the floor I hung it in the bathroom with a friendly little note attached.

"Once I was lost...
Now I am found.
Daddy was blind...
But now he sees me!"

It felt good to be right, even though it'll probably be a while before it happens again.

August 14, 2009

A Gift for You

Gifts are just as much fun to give as they are to receive, so imagine the joy of the Holy Spirit when He presented you with your spiritual gifts! Like Christmas, every time a child is born, lavish gifts are bestowed with the divine intent and desire they be used for the glory of God.

While the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) help us grow more into the image of Christ, spiritual gift are special abilities given to us by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of ministry. These gifts are supernatural abilities that may spring from a a person’s natural ability, but ultimately go above and beyond natural talent. While we are born with talents we are born again with spiritual gifts.

So, what gifts has the Spirit given you? Though no one receives every gift, God give all His children at least one and most likely two or three. Look at the gifts below and see what fits. What attracts you like a magnet and comes most natural?

1. Administration – Goal and objective oriented individuals coordinate resources to accomplish tasks quickly.

2. Evangelism – Strong desire to share the gospel with nonbelievers in every situation and by all possible means.

3. Exhortation – Special ability to encourage others in the body of Christ by giving them words of comfort. Eager to help others grow spiritually by sharing past personal failures.

4. Giving – Love to give material or financial goods so that the needs of the Lord’s work are met. Often good in money management.

5. Helps – Desire to further the church’s ministry by meeting the needs of others, especially those in leadership positions.

6. Hospitality – Ability to make guest feel comfortable and at home. They have a desire to promote a warm welcome to guests in any setting.

7. Leadership – Ability to lead others toward spiritual growth and communicate effectively to large groups of people.

8. Mercy – Have immediate compassion for those who are suffering physically, spiritually, or emotionally. Attracted to people in distress.

9. Prophecy – Able to proclaim God’s truth without compromise. Need to express themselves verbally, especially about right and wrong.

10. Service – The ability to perform any task with joy that benefits others and meet practical needs. Has a tendency to disregard own comfort and personal health to serve others.

11. Shepherding – Unique ability to take responsibility for long-term spiritual growth of a group of believers. They see guiding, feeding, and protecting a flock of Christ’s followers as their responsibility.

12. Teaching – Ability to explain God’s truth so that others can understand and apply it in their lives. Desire and ability to research and present truth in an organized and systematic fashion.

Now let's share. What are your top three gifts?

Romans 12:3-8
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

August 10, 2009

The Grand Opening

We have a new Macy's close to our home and I was eager to attend the grand opening. I was pleasantly surprised to see and smell a Starbuck's as soon as I walked in the door. It was in the store mind you. How handy is that? It was a good start right off the bat.

Since it was my first time in the building, I decided to follow the tile path that went around the store, kind of like a yellow brick road of sorts. I had no doubt it would give me a good tour of the new facility. Walking past pots, pans, pillows, curtains, and comforters, I entered the lingerie department where the cutest top and pant set caught my eye. The top was a soft delicate pink with matching pants covered with black polka dots. They were cute as a bug's ear. "If they look half as good on me as they do on the hanger I am taking them home today!"

Hastily finding my size, I took a bee-line straight to the fitting room eager to see how I'd look in the nightwear. Everything smelled so fresh and new, making it a double joy to be a part of this grand opening. Closing the rich wood-slatted door, I commenced trying on the pant and top set. About mid try-on, I heard two employees talking in the background. I wasn't paying attention to their conversation until I heard a third employee pop in saying, "Could you please give her some help?" The girls promptly went to the assistance of someone whom I assumed was a customer, at which time I couldn't help but listen to a rather perplexing conversation.

"Ok, I need you to help me get this on so it doesn't knock my head off" said the supposed customer. One of the employees responded with a professional "ok" as apparent adjustments were underway. At this point I couldn't help but wonder what they could be doing for this woman. As hard as I tried I couldn't fathom how the girls where helping this woman keep her head on and what could possibly threaten it coming off. The suspense was killing me but I was nearly dressed and ready to leave. Most likely I would never know what they were talking about and the mystery would forever go unanswered.

By the time I left the dressing room things were quiet. The two employees and customer were gone, or so I thought. Heading back to place the night clothes on the rack, I glanced down the tile walkway all to see the answer to the mysterious conversation. With puzzle pieces falling into place at the speed of light, it was all I could do to keep from bursting into laughter because walking down the isle was a doll mascot with the biggest head you could ever imagine. She looked like a giant Cabbage Patch doll with long rope for hair that was sure to be the major contributor to her heavy head. No wonder she needed help in the dressing room. She could have never gotten that noggin on all by herself. No way no how.

You should have seen the employee as she gingerly guided the poor over-sized doll to the grand opening ceremony. Honestly, an anemic snail could have traveled faster than the pair, which is what made it so hilarious. Snickering and smiling ear to ear, I did the only thing I could do at that moment. I made my way to a display bed, sat down, and texted the scene to my son Drew.

I walked out of the grand opening empty handed. The pant set looked better on the hanger than it did on me, but I did walk away with something money can't buy, a silly smile and a mystery solved.

Any grand openings in your area?

August 6, 2009

Rockin' Crocs

I swore I'd never buy them. Not because there is anything wrong with them, but because everyone and their dog has them...Crocs. For years I've seen them in grocery stores, malls, and hospitals. The garden center here in town has a wall of Crocs just waiting to crawl out into the world and join the crowd. If only I had invented these little critters!

Well, never say no. I bought my first pair this week. With winter coming and my favorite New Balance slip on tennis shoes chewed up and no longer in production, I turned on my heals and jump on board. They didn't have size 5 so I took a gamble and ordered 6, hoping the fuzzy lining would take up some room. They landed on my porch this afternoon and lo and behold they fit! Now I'm ready for winter (I am always thinking ahead) and can move past the grief of losing my favorite sneakers.

Do you own some Crocs? If so, what color and how many?

August 3, 2009

Chocolate Basket Delight!

A friend at work had a little surgery so we decided to get her a "Get Well" present. Figuring it would be more personalized if we assembled it ourselves, I offered to put a basket of chocolates together, which meant I got the delicious job of shopping for cocoa candies, cookies, and coffee. By the end of my spree this is what we ended up giving her.

This is the most delicious craft I've ever done.

If you are a chocolate lover, what is your favorite kind?

August 2, 2009

Puppy Reunion

This weekend Cocoa reunited with two of his siblings, Molly and Ki. It was a small gathering, but feisty, furry, and fun just the same. We let the dogs run in the field before lunch so they could get to know each other again and then watched them swim for hours on end. It was a dog-on good time!

Cocoa and Ecclesi (front)
Ki (heading up the rear)

Cocoa (left) and Ki (right)

Ecclesi (left)
Cocoa and Ki (middle)
Little Miss Molly
(far right looking like a character in Dr. Seuss)

Cocoa on Molly's tail

Ki and Cocoa

It was fun to compare notes. All the pups love people and are as gentle as lambs. Ki did a beautiful thing when he arrived. Even though it's been six months and 80 lbs since he was last here, the first thing he did when he walked in the front door was head straight toward the bedroom he was born. Following his nose, he found his way back to the very beginning of his tenure here on this earth. It was stunning and truly amazing.

Then there's little Miss Molly who seemed to know Ecclesi was not her brother and therefore had a crush on him. All she did during her visit was bark in his ear while he retrieved one toy after another. The less attention he gave her the louder she barked and the more she barked the less attention she got. It was a viscous circle that reminded me a bit of high school.

All the pups have wonderful homes and though it would have been great to get them all together I am not sure we could have handled so many rambunctious pups. Suffice it to say God has faithfully answered the prayers I prayed over each pup by placing them in safe, good, and loving homes. Thank you God!