Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Nation's Pastor

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"That the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored."
2 Thessalonians 3:1

That Bible verse was the keynote verse for the dedication ceremony of The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 31st of this year. That dedication ceremony was highlighted in a recent Decision Magazine with the cover a picture of three presidents bowing in prayer seated on a podium beside Billy Graham. Journalists arrived thinking they were going to report on a tribute to a man but instead the celebration was designed, like the Library itself, to glorify God and to proclaim the message of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

This past week Mom and I had the priviledge of visiting Billy Graham's Library. Never have I been more inspired by a library/museum anywhere in the world. Upon entering we were given a brochure with the follow sentences: "Every aspect of the Billy Graham Library is designed foremost to honor Jesus Christ and the message of the Gospel, which Billy Graham has dedicated his life to preaching. From the towering 40-foot cross at the entryway, to the Scripture passages emblazoned on the wooden structural beams, it is our hope that you will see beyond the man and be touched by the message of God's love."

As we walked through the various rooms and listened to a number of fascinating presentations I was filled with a sense of being in the presence of a remarkable and extremely humble man; a man totally sold out to God, willing to do whatever it took to herald the name of Jesus around the globe. God used a willing farm boy to change the face of true evangelism. Billy went where others could not go-behind the iron curtain, into communist countries, through palace doors, on the fields of war-torn nations always with the same message of hope through Jesus Christ. His life's journey has caused me to reflect on the question: "How is my life's journey being used by God to draw others to Jesus?"
Maybe it is a question we should all ask of ourselves!


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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sleep!

Have you ever heard some teenager glibly state: "Sleep is not all it's cracked up to be"? He never had to dive into bed at 9:00 p.m. in order to cherish 2-4 hours of uninterrupted sleep before being woken to the sound of a crying baby ready to nurse, needing a diaper change, or spitting up all over the crib sheets. I remember these scenes years ago while raising my three children but now, at 58, the sleep deprivation seems to take a greater toll. On mornings when Rebecca and I have experienced at least one "chunk" of four hours of unbroken sleep we smile and say, "It was a good night." On the other end of the spectrum, there are mornings I wearily take out the dog, sit on the front step, and try to remember how it felt to feel rested and have energy to accomplish a list of "to-dos". I recently read that when we get less sleep (even one hour less) than we need each night, we develop a "sleep debt." Wow-am I in debt! The article said that if the sleep debt becomes too great, it can lead to problem sleepiness-sleepiness that occurs when you should be awake and alert, that interferes with daily routine and activities, and reduces your ability to function. Ok, that explains why I let out the dog before I remember to shut off the house alarm sending me into a panic as I attempt to quiet the blaring siren or why I bake a coffee cake forgetting to add the baking powder or why I fall asleep watching the Today Show! Yet, having said all of this, I wouldn't exchange a day of being here with my grandson for a full night's sleep! So maybe "Sleep isn't REALLY all it's cracked up to be!"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lessons from "Mr. Blue Eyes"



God has a way of teaching us valuable life lessons if we but look for them in our daily routine. Since coming home from the hospital God has used Christian to teach me more about the three "Ps": Prayer, Patience, and Perseverance.

During long hours late at night or early in the morning I have learned the value and joy of prayer. God somehow seems closer while rocking an infant in the quiet of a dark nursery.

Can one have enough Whitey's ice cream? NO! In like manner, one can never have enough patience! As my grandson squirms and fusses "refusing" to burp at 2:00 a.m. God gently reminds me that I, too, squirm and fuss during various times in my life and He has always been patient with me. So, though I'm sleep-deprived, my patience grows.

James 1:2-3 says, "Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." Because of Christian's health challenges Rebecca and I have had to be determined to find a solution and commited to following through on a diet change involving saying "no" to all dairy products, including ice cream-yikes! And I agreed to join her on this diet? What was I thinking??

Prayer, patience, and perseverance are producing results as you can see in this photo of a smiling, happy baby!



Thursday, October 4, 2007

Christian Michael Thorpe "Update"

At 5 1/2 weeks Christian Michael Thorpe, my adorable grandson, is 9 lbs. 5 oz. and 21 1/2 inches in length. The "just born" onesies have been packed away and the 0-3 month sleepers are now in use. Little folds of fat around his thighs and under his chin indicate he is thriving on mother's milk. The increasing volume of his crying clearly shows his lungs are healthy and he keeps both mom and grandmother hopping from crib to rocking chair at all hours of the day and night. Every baby is unique and Christian is no exception. With his basketball size eyes and his little turned-up nose he's a handsome boy, but sometimes he resembles a little old man with a receding hairline when he furrows his brow ready to voice a complaint. And voicing complaints he has mastered!

Rebecca and I have been on a journey to discover why he has been relatively unhappy since coming home. In the ER room of the local hospital, three weeks ago, he was diagnosed with GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease). The symptoms were projectile spitting/vomiting after nursing and extreme fussiness about an hour after he ate. We were given a prescription to fill and sent on our way. We followed this visit with a trip to a new pediatrician who concurred with the ER doctor, but switched medications to one she felt was more effective. We went home confident that we were on the road to a happier baby. As the week progressed Christian continued to exhibit the same disturbing symptoms-intense crying & restlessness while adding other problems to the mix. He developed excema on his head and a rash on his cheeks. The medication seemed ineffective, although we were told it could take several days to see results. After a week of frustration Rebecca began searching the internet and for hours researched various other possibilities. When she came upon
MSPI (Milk &/or Soy Protein Intolerance) we felt we had a "winner"! We guessed Christian might be intolerant to the milk protein in Rebecca's breast milk. To verify our theory we gave him one bottle of soy formula and-bingo-a sleeping baby! Now, Rebecca had a choice to make: switch Christian to soy formula or completely eradicate all dairy from her diet. She chose the latter and already, after less than a week, we are seeing dramatic results. It is a challenge to bake without dairy but I am enjoying the adventure of adjusting recipes and scanning the shelves of the local health food store for alternatives.

Now, even though we think we have Christian's health problem solved he continues to be quite demanding. Did you know that babies have distinct temperaments? I guess I realized that after raising three different children but I never read any literature on the topic. In trying to better understand my grandson I have been surfing through various articles on the internet. It seems that there are basically three types of babies.

1) the easy going, quiet, placid baby who adjusts quickly to new situations, is able to calm himself, reacts only mildly when in discomfort, & generally is in a good mood

2) the sensitive-slow to warm up baby who seems shy, approaches new situations cautiously, & responds quietly to hunger or discomfort

3) the active-fussy-high need baby who is continually in motion, easily distracted, hard to soothe when in discomfort, sleeps fewer hours, & demands much attention

Guess which category Christian falls into? You are correct if you guessed number 3! He is definately a hand full for BOTH mommy and grandmommy! But he is the source of great joy each and every day and we never stop thanking God for this special little boy!

Here is a recent photo of my little treasure. (Thank God for "binkys". They work wonders for the active baby temperament!)