Wednesday, December 03, 2014

New Series

Hey everybody, I just wanted to give a heads up that I'm going to start a new series soon. I'll start putting up some reviews of books that I've read recently. Nothing too fancy, but just a chance to share some interesting things I've been learning.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Update on Nora

Recently, Carolyn wrote a summary of some of the issues Nora has been facing the last few weeks (here). This morning, I wanted to summarize some of what's gone down since then. On Wednesday, it was back to the Dr. because she'd thrown up a couple more times. Her pediatrician was concerned that there might be come kidney issues due to her swollen cheeks and high blood pressure. We went to the ER that afternoon and once again, they said nothing as wrong. The ER doc said he'd be "very surprised" if anything was wrong and that it was probably another virus. He told Carolyn & myself we should just go home, but "we can do the blood test if you want to." We told him something more was wrong and an hour later he came back saying she was very anemic.

We then had a pediatrician come in and tell us that he thinks she has Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). Basically, she got a strain of E. coli, which then lead to HUS. The toxins from the bacterial infection in her intestines cause her red blood cells to be attacked, which then causes her kidneys to not be able to function properly. They admitted Nora to Riverbend hospital Wednesday night and there were several things they wanted to see change. Specifically, her blood pressure & heart rate to go down, and iron levels back up. They put her on blood pressure meds (normal is 90, she was around 130 with spikes of 160) and started weighing all her diapers for urine output to make sure kidneys were working properly. As everyone described what was happening we definitely felt like we'd been through the worst of it. By yesterday evening they were concerned her heart rate was still fairly elevated. Our Dr. called OHSU to ask about increasing some medication and they wanted to see her in person.

I was not expecting her to have to be transferred, but last night, they transported Nora & Carolyn up to Portland and I followed with the other kids. They decided, due to her low hemoglobin levels, that a blood transfusion would be necessary. So, all night she's been on a slow drip of new blood to help her body turn the corner and beat this. Her blood pressure & heart rate is looking good right now. I think overall, Nora is mostly tired and annoyed with being touched by strangers and always getting woken while trying to sleep. Carolyn & I are both pretty tired too. I never expected us to end up at Doernbecher, but it's a great hospital and anything that can help her little body recover is something I can get behind.

Still no word on what's next or how long we'll be here, but overall folks seem pretty positive about where she's at. Fortunately, we have a wide network of friends and family in Eugene & Portland, so we will and have been taken care of very well. Thanks for all your prayers and I'll try to keep updates coming as we get the chance.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Myth of Self-Sufficiency

One narrative of our US culture that has stood out to me lately is the idea that anyone could become anything. This principle is deeply rooted in our national consciousness. There are so many inspiring stories of people who have done amazing things. Entrepreneurs, inventors, athletes, and stories of hope are easy to find in the archives of US history. So often, a key thread to this plot of overcoming and success is self-determination. These heroes have achieved due to and their own ability and will power. "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps," is stated equally as an attribute and a judgment if you haven't achieved "success" in your own life.

It's an interesting dichotomy, because I believe self-sufficiency is a myth. No one accomplishes anything alone. Gladwell's book Outliers, he tells the story of how Bill Gates' didn't become the richest man in the world on intellect alone. He was in the right place, at the right time, and with parents who were able to give him the resources to be successful. These amazing athletes in the olympics have sacrificed greatly and shown an amazing amount of determination and resilience. But no one wins gold alone.

Self-sufficiency is not a biblical concept. Everything we learn from theology and scripture shows us that we are dependent on God's work in our lives through the Holy Spirit and Christ's sacrifice for redemption and renewal. The imagery of the body of Christ couldn't be more clear, that we need each other. Pragmatically, storyline of the "self-made" individual is incomplete. There is far more at play than our own will in any of our lives.

I believe that this misinterpretation of success inhibits our willingness to help each other. It inadvertently gives permission to judge those who are struggling and promotes a unhealthy idealization of individualism. I am thankful for the support I received throughout my life. I want to try to be supportive and understanding towards others in recognition that life is not a level playing field and we need to support each other, because no one is self-sufficient.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Fun Day

This was a great weekend and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving out at my Mom's house. It was great to have Carolyn's parents and some friends join in the day of thanks and great food. I am so thankful for our family and I especially love watching my kids play and enjoy their grandparents. Yesterday we made the most of the break from the rain and had multiple trips to the park. It has just been great to not be working and spending time together. I know it isn't over yet, but Sunday is generally a pretty busy day with all our various church activities. So, today we made the most of our relaxation and fun together.

We started today off by heading over to the Children's Museum.  Carolyn usually takes the kids there while I'm at work, so it was nice to be there with them. Elisa loved playing in the clay room and Jonathan loved hitting the piles with the little hammer they had. After lunch, there were naps for everybody. Then we headed downtown.

The kids loved the tree in Pioneer Square.

After playing around the Christmas tree, we met up with our friend Becca and finished the night off with some delicious pizza at the Mellow Mushroom

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Summer Reading List

Unlike some people, I didn't enter the summer with a reading plan. I sort of go with the flow and when the library says things show up from being on reserve, I read it.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

This book was everything I hoped it would be. I'm a huge Tina Fey fan and if you enjoy her style (eg. 30 Rock) you'll love this book.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Carolyn read this one a long time ago and one of my old RAs recommended it to me. I did enjoy this book while reading it, but it is so unique that it leaves me a little unsure of whether I really enjoyed it or not. Either way, very well written.

Live From New York by Shales & Miller

I didn't read all 650 pages, but I loved how it was written. The story of SNL's history is told through interviews and is simply a collection of quotes from the stars and writers of the show. It's a fascinating way to tell a history and I really enjoyed learning about the early days as well as history that I was aware of. I think it's hard to find any franchise that has produced so many big names in the entertainment industry.

Those Guys Have All the Fun by Shales & Miller

This recent release by the same guys who wrote about SNL is written in the same way. It was so fascinating. I never intended to read all 780 pages, but each chapter lead me on to the next and I read it all. From very humble beginnings  to now being worth more than the NBA, NHL, and MLB combined, this book explains how a little cable network changed the world of sports into entertainment.

Love Wins by Rob Bell

When Rob Bell speaks, people listen. This book is too huge to ignore. It's really popular among the college students I work with. My favorite seminary prof said many times, you shouldn't talk about who you haven't read. I'm glad I got to read it and there were many things I appreciated about what Bell said.

Erasing Hell by Chan & Sprinkle

I think very highly of Francis Chan and I was frankly surprised he wrote a response book. This would represent the other side of the discussion Bell brought to the forefront. A couple critiques are that I got the distinct impression that this book was written with haste. It's fairly choppy and lacks a logical ark because I think they were just trying to refute things Bell brought forward. There were also a few times that I thought Chan was going too far in trying to dictate what emotion the reader should be having, but overall it was worth the time to read. The thing I most appreciate, whether I agreed with all of his conclusions or not, is that he was trying to find what scripture taught even if it was hard to hear. For more on Chan and his motivation, check out this video.

Although I didn't have a list entering the summer, here are a couple of books that I'm looking forward to:

The Voice of Matthew by Lauren Winner

Lauren Winner is easily one of my favorite authors. I want to read everything she writes and when I realized she wrote this a while ago, I got a copy right away.

The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons

This one's been out for a while and since the NBA is on lock-out, this 750 page beauty might help to ease the sadness of not being able to watch my favorite team during those long winter months.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Great Experience

It was a great two weeks in Seattle and a real pleasure to connect with these 23 amazing students and 10 outstanding staff. I'm so thankful for everyone who supported Carolyn & me to make this happen. Going into the Transition Seminar I knew that I cared a lot about MKs and their "Third Culture" nature. I also have always known that I thoroughly enjoy being with college students. What I didn't realize that this seminar is a great fit for my collective passions.

My impression of how important this seminar is has been blown out of the water. I thought it was super important, now I know it's in a higher echelon of impact. It really was a privilege to invest in the lives of some great people and support the body of Christ in this way.

To all those who prayed and supported financially, thank you. Thank you so much! I wish I could articulate better exactly how strongly I believe in this ministry and how much you've helped, but for now I want you to know I'm grateful.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Week One Highlights

It's been a very busy week here at the transition seminar and it's going very well. The map above is full of post-it tags showing where in the world everyone at the seminar have lived. It's truly amazing how these students have come from so many different cultures, but have been able to connect together so well. Yesterday morning I helped guide the students through their Myers-Briggs personality types. It was a great discussion and they seemed to enjoy understanding themselves better. We've also started our small groups, which gives the students a chance to talk about their own stories with peers and talk through the main issues they'll be facing in the midst of this transition.

There have been many highlights. There has been tradition of having silly challenges each morning and we've done things like making balloon animals, had a dance off, paper airplanes, and everyone even tried learning how to juggle. We've also had some free time each day to play at least one game of basketball, soccer, or ultimate. It's a little hard to believe that we're already half way through our time, but there is a lot more good things we're going to work through and I think next week is going to be great.