Notsowordless Wednesday: Big Ol’ Sweet Iced Tea: Anita Renfroe

I have had an interesting few weeks, let me tell you. While everyone was celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior on Easter morning, my husband and I were in the emergency room of SouthCrest Hospital. I wasn’t happy about that little detour, it wasn’t in my plans. Finding a mass in my uterus that day wasn’t in my plans either and I was scared.

Funny thing is, God has plans for me – and for you too – and even though His plans don’t match up with ours, His plans are always best.

I’d love to tell you that I handled this little detour well, but I’d be lying.

I could tell you that the message I received from one of my mentors the next day (Jer 29:11, I know the plans I have for you..) filled me with hope – and it did, for that day, but I let go of it. I have a built in forgetter. Fortunately for me, his mercies are new each morning and I need morning mercies, don’t you?

Truth is, I was scared and I got mad at God.

I pulled every “no fair” argument I could think of. It’s not fair God, I have plans this summer.

I know that I am not the only woman in the world who has ever played the “not fair” card with God, and I won’t be the last. The good news is, God is big enough to handle our fears, our disappointments, and our anger. I’m thankful for that.

My little health detour has given me time to look at things from a new light. It’s given me time to read, to be with my family, and to just soak up His love and Grace. I’m in pain a lot of the time, and I have had to lean into Him more than ever.

I also learned something in this detour, perspective is everything. For three weeks I’ve been focusing on this fibroid in my gut that is causing my stomach to swell, and my clothes to hurt. It is a source of frustration for me in more ways than one.

I missed something though - it turns out this fibroid is a gift.

I got my biopsy results back yesterday. The good news is, I don’t have cancer. The other good news, they did a biopsy of my uterine lining and I have Intraepithelial dysplasia, a precancerous condition that if left untreated can turn into cancer. If it hadn’t been for this massive fibroid that takes up half my gut, they never would have found the other.

Uterine cancer does not have symptoms until it’s too late. This detour revealed a much deeper problem that would not have been discovered otherwise.

You might say, this detour saved my life. 

And so I sit, taking back all my “no fair” arguments and remembering that He does know the plans he has for us, and his plans are not for harm, but for a future and a hope. His plans apparently include a hysterectomy as well and in light of my present circumstances, I’m totally okay with that.

 One of my no fair arguments with God revolves around how I’m just now learning who I am. I’ve made new friends, found new talents and only recently had the courage to try my hand at comedy. Having lived the first 40 years of my life in fear, finding courage is a big issue for me.  I didn’t want to lose all of that now. Turns out I won’t have to, He has plans, remember? Having said that, I want to introduce you to a woman I met on my journey a few years back. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.

I was first introduced to this funny gal when a friend emailed me the video Momisms,  Anita Renfroe’s YouTube video on everything a mother says in a 24 hour period set to the William Tell Overture.  This video went viral in a matter of weeks. It was this video that launched her into seemingly overnight success. I say seemingly, because the truth is Anita has been speaking and doing comedy for years. There is no such thing as overnight success, her success is bred from hard work, dedication, and pure talent.

While we aren’t friends, I have met her once or twice and she is as down to earth and genuinely wise and funny as her videos show her to be. She is definitely a woman I would love to hang with.

We belong to the same organization but I do not consider her my peer. She’s a legend on the circuit. I’m a newbie. Anita is simply a woman I enjoy watching and learning from. Having said that, I’d like to introduce ya’ll to her newest YouTube video, Big Ol’ Sweet Iced Tea. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. So pour yourself a glass of sweet tea, and enjoy.

FCC regulations also state that I have to inform ya’ll that no goods were received in exchange for this endorsement. I am simply sharing a resource that I think you will like as much as I do.

The Marriage Project: 21 Days to More Love and Laughter, by Kathi Lipp

I grew up in a divorced home. My husband grew up with parents who stayed together, for better and for worse, for over 50 years. He and I bring very diverse sets of luggage to our home.  As a result of that, I love reading books on marriage. I love reading books period. And I love projects. Granted, when it comes to projects, I am a great starter and a not so great finisher. I love to dream, and plan, and think about ad infi nauseum… do you catch my drift? As easily as I jump into a project, I get easily bored.

This book is different. Kathi has written a book on marriage that speaks to my heart. It is simple, easy to follow, organized and very conversational. I especially like the whole “love and laughter” aspect of it all because when laughter leaves your home, everything else follows. Good marriages, healthy marriages are not happenstance, they are intentional and that is the message throughout her book.

This is my first introduction to author Kathi Lipp, and after just the first few chapters I found myself thinking, “Now this is a woman I’d love to hang with.” She is humorous, transparent, wears her heart on her sleeve, and she is insightful. Kathi’s non judgemental and transparent writing style makes her very easy to relate to. Kathi simply writes from the heart.

The Marriage Project, is a book intended to be worked through as a couple and while I originally agreed to participate in this as a couple prior to writing my review, our life did not fully cooperate. My mother in law recetnly passed the best thing I can do right now is love and support my husband and save the book for us to work through at a later time.

I know that in the future we will be able to make the time to follow the fun principles set before us in this easy to follow book. What is also great about this book is it is full of simple ideas that I can implement on my own to communicate the love and respect I have for this man I married 20 years ago.

Your marriage does not need to be in crisis mode to work through this study. Ours isn’t. This is a study that can be worked through at any stage of married life.  I highly recommend reading this book. It’s intentional. It’s clearly written. It is focused.

The Marriage Project is a project worth doing.

Short description of The Marriage Project

More love, more laughter — more lingerie.

Was the last time you flirted with your husband before you had kids?

Do you spend more time on the couch with your wife watching movies or with a bag of chips watching The Game?

Does your idea of a hot date include a drive-thru and springing for the extra-large fries?

What would your marriage look like if for 21 days you put it on project status? Plenty of books describe how to improve a marriage, how to save a marriage, and how to ramp up the intimacy in a marriage. In The Marriage Project, Kathi Lipp shows you how to put the fun back in marriage with 21 simple yet effective projects.

Here are just a few of the results you’ll see when you put The Marriage Project into practice:
- new levels of warmth and tenderness in your relationship
- a deeper sense of security with your spouse
- new ideas to bring fun and flirting back into your marriage

If you haven’t given up on the dream of being head-over-heels with your spouse again, The Marriage Project will give you just the boost you need.

About the Author

Author and Speaker, Kathi Lipp

Kathi Lipp is a national speaker and author who inspires women to take beneficial action steps in their personal, marital and spiritual lives. Her wit and wisdom will give you new ways to:

  •  Avoid settling for less than God’s loving plan for your life.
  • Develop new levels of warmth and tenderness with your husband
  • Return fun and flirting to your marriage
  • Boost your confidence to follow God-given dreams and goals.
  • Create and environment of encouragement in your friendships

Join Kathi and renovate your life with a project for your soul!

Q&A with Kathi

  • Kathi, you talk about a time in your life when your marriage wasn’t all that you hoped for. What were some of the things that you wanted to improve in your own marriage?

Let me be clear – I love my husband Roger, but, this is a second marriage for both of us. I knew the statistics regarding remarriages are pretty bleak. But, I guess we were hoping that we would be the exception to the rule and would avoid all the drama – yeah, not so much… With both of us having two teens, plus both becoming step-parents to two teens, we had our challenges waiting for us.

That is when Roger came up with the watch word for our marriage – “Intentional”. Whatever problems came up we were going to deal with them head on – not avoid them as we both did in our first marriages.
The Marriage Project is one of the results of that – being intentional about making it work.

  • So, how does The Marriage Project work?

The Marriage Project is like a workout program for your marriage – only with less sweat and more chocolate. You commit to do fun and flirty things for 21 days to raise the temperature of your marriage – everything from flirty notes on the bathroom mirror to more lingerie in the bedroom. It is a little bit of work – and a whole lot of fun.

  • How did you come up with the Projects?

We ran 40 projects past 200 couples – most of them at our church in San Jose, CA. The ones that had the biggest impact – usually involving food and sex – stayed, while some of the ones that had the least impact got tossed. That’s how we came up with 21 pretty solid projects that both the husbands and the wives felt were fun and had an impact on their relationship.

 

  •  Most couples already may feel overwhelmed, so how can they fit these projects into their already busy schedules?

Roger and I have real lives – lots of kids, little money, and even less time. So we made sure that the projects were as “doable” as possible. Most of the projects take less than five minutes.

  •  What’s the biggest reason that women stop putting effort into romancing their husbands?

Time was the overwhelming factor for the women – between kids and jobs, home responsibilities and other family, it was easy to let their relationship with their husbands go on auto pilot.

  • How about the guys? What are some of the reasons a man may give up on romance?

Surprisingly, most of the men wanted more romance with their wives, but didn’t feel like they were doing it “right”. “Will she be mad if I get her the wrong kind of flowers?” “What if she doesn’t like the gift I got her?” “It doesn’t matter what I do, she isn’t going to like it anyways.” If felt like a lot of the men wanted to do the right thing, but felt overwhelmed by “getting it right”.

  • You talk a lot about dating your mate in The Marriage Project. With all of the pressures of the economy, job stress, and family obligations, why do you think dating your spouse is so important?

Dating is what helps us fall in love in the first place. It is the thing that most married couples give up first after saying “I do.” But dating is a great way to take a little retreat from those things that can pull us away from each other. At first you may have to look at dating as a project – setting aside time, money and energy for something (or someone) that is important.

I know that it can be expensive to date, but if you are creative, you can have a fun date for under $20.

  • Are there really dates you can do for less than $20?

Absolutely. In fact, we have a list on my website with 20 Dates for under $20.

  • What about if you have kids? How can you keep those costs down with the expense of babysitting?

Starting January 15th, we are going to have great ideas on how to date with kids on my blog. You are going to love the ideas that all our readers are contributing!

Purchase Links

Amazon:  The Marriage Project: 21 Days to More Love and Laughter
Christian Book: The Marriage Project
Barnes and Noble: The Marriage Project

Kathi’s Web Page

Kathy Lipp

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for the above mentioned books, authors, or blogs other than a free copy of the book to read before my review. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Iceland’s Volcano

Ash and Lightning Above an Icelandic Volcano, Credit & Copyright: Marco Fulle (Stromboli Online)

Planes have been grounded all over Europe and the United States for days because of this volcanic eruption in Iceland. I happened across this photo today in one of my news feeds and fell in love with it. You can see the actual web page here: Astronomy Picture of the Day This is an amazing web site. I had no idea.

In other news I got to hear the sonic boom from our space shuttle re-entering the Earth’s Atmosphere today. We all went outside to try and catch a glimpse, but no luck. Still, that was really cool. The last time I saw a space shuttle of any kind was back in the 80′s when it blew up. This was a nice second chance to see something great. I’m thankful that this one landed back home without harm.

Hope ya’ll are having a great Tuesday. I know I’m not blogging much at the moment. Truth be told, I’m really not feeling well. The new medication the doctors have me on to shrink my cookie monster of a fibroid are causing a great deal of pain and other nasty symptoms. This is only temporary and will be resolved in due time. I see the specialist again on the 28th and should not only get the results of my biopsy, but also set a date for surgery. I cannot wait for this bad boy to be removed from my body.

Have a wonderful day ya’ll.

Let’s Talk About it: Girl Talk

Content Warning: This post is for women only. Men read at your own risk. I’m talking about girl parts today.

Women are funny creatures, we’ll either spill our guts and tell you more than you ever wanted to know or we become so stinkin’ private it’s a wonder any of us know where babies come from. We are at times polite and modest to a fault. And we are at times honest to a fault. I’m not saying that’s wrong, I’m just saying that sometimes it is helpful to know things beyond who did your hair or how much you hate my new dress.

Case in point. When I went to the hospital last week, I thought something was truly, seriously wrong with me. Turns out that one in four women develop fibroids in their life time. Not to be crass, but you’d think at 44, I’d know what those are.  “Female problems” aren’t something that run in my family. No one has ever had issue beyond early menopause. I am now learning that several of my friends and extended family have lived with fibriods and eventually had hysterectomies, but I didn’t know that last week.

I do know that my Great Grandmother died from cervical cancer at the age of 86 and I know that she’d had a hysterectomy when she was in her 50′s – but the why behind it went to the grave with her. No one knows. Her cervical cancer went undetected because she never had another pap smear after that.

Fibroids were always something women get in their breasts, not… well… elsewhere. And fibroids were something that was maybe the size of a small pea or maybe a quarter, but not so big that I would be deemed the size of a woman in her 22nd week of pregnancy. Having the emergency room doctor describe my new friend as something that “could be a fibroid, could be a cyst, or it could be cancer, we don’t know right now.” Did not help my heart or my over active imagination. I’ll let you guess which word I focused on.

I’ve also learned that they develop over time and that most women live with them until they get troublesome. Mine has reached troublesome. Why no one found it before now, is still a mystery to me.

For those who have been following my health detour, I saw the surgeon today.

Today’s doctor visit went really well. I like my new doctor and my husband even went with me. There were some glitches, like the fact that my primary never sent him my file or the films or the lab results. This after my hounding her office for three days to get them to process the referral in the first place. Typical really of that office.

I’m changing primaries after this is over.

My new doctor is warm and kind, a surgeon, strong women’s health advocate, and practical. He stated that statistics show there is an 80% chance this is just a benign fibroid, that 1 in 4 women get them in their life time and until tests show it to be something else he’ll stick with that diagnosis. He also reserves the right to change his prognosis once all lab results are in. Yes, it seems “big” by my standards but in his line of work he’s “seen worse.”

Another bonus is he saw the humor in my naming it and doesn’t think I’m wierd for doing that at all; at least not to my face.

He seems more concerned by the polyp on my cervix than the mass in my uterus. I didn’t know about the polyp either. Biopsies were taken for both and I’ll know the results when I go back to see him on the 28th.

I have regular female exams, so these things are new occurances this year. I’m not happy about the timeing. Jeff just lost his mom last month, I don’t want to be down right now. We have trips planned and summer arriving. I’m stubborn, and I have work to do.

I’m not sure what lessons are ahead or what I’ll learn from all this, but like it or not, I have down time coming up. Today, I’m learning to accept the gifts that can be found in that.

My question for you guys: How do you handled seemingly forced down times? How hard is it for you to let go of your plans and surrender to what is?

It’s Like Dr Seuss for your house

It's made to do that!

“The act of creation is a profoundly satisfying experience.  Taking an abstract idea, giving it form, refining proportions, placing lines, integrating functionality, and giving this spark of imagination a real, physical presence is a process that gives me great joy.” – Vincent Leman of Dust Furniture   

 I’m taking a much need break over my whiney health issues to bring you something really really cool. I was searching last night for a new cabinet for our bathroom when I found this page. I had to do a double take, because surely this is a set designer for Whooville, right? Nope.  Vincent Leman is a carpentry artist out of Indiana and I think his page rocks!   

Even though he does create more compact pieces, most of his design work requires larger rooms in order to fully appreciate their function and form. Check out the blue book-case to the right. Don’t you just love the lines, and angles? I do.  

Honey, I know what I want for my birthday!  

I’m guessing his work is really more appropriate for libraries and story telling corners, or classrooms even. But still — wouldn’t you just love having one of these pieces in say a home nursery or child’s playroom?   

I’m in love, no doubt about it. And I wish beyond wishes that I had a child’s room to decorate or some other fun type place in my home to put one of these wonderful pieces.   

So, that’s my fun and frivolous for today.    

Hope you guys are having a wonderfully fun Thursday. Go outside, enjoy the sunshine and breathe deep the joys found in today.  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for the above mentioned books, authors, or blogs. I am only recommending people, writers, that I personally enjoy and think might be of interest to my readers. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart, April 8, 2010. All rights reserved. 

We Have a Referral and I’m learning peace

I can be a bit controlling, especially when I’m scared. My husband will laugh when he reads that and add a “you think?”

I know that control is never a solution to fear, especially not on this side of the Resurrection. But knowing and doing don’t always mesh in my world. We are working on it.

I’ve had three days of phone calls, not only for myself but for my son with epilepsy. I’ve learned through his disorder how to be assertive with doctors and when to follow-up and when to call. D needed a script refilled and for whatever reason, I was the hand holder between the pharmacy and the pediatrician. I’m glad I called it in three days early. It took the full three days to get it refilled. It never takes that long.

My doctor issue really frustrated me. I got frustrated because they were not giving me correct answers. I followed up on Monday like the hospital told me too, and received a call back stating that my referral was being processed and that I should receive a phone call later that day. No phone call came.

Tues: I called back and left a message for the gal in charge. The gal up front read the notes on my file and assured me everything was being processed. No return call came.

Wed: (Today) I called the processing gal directly and was saddened — and slightly angered — to discover she had no clue who I was, and had received no such paper work nor a message that I had called on Tuesday. The gals in the front office did not lie to me — there were notes on my page that indicated a referral was being processed. Sadly it turned out the referral was for the wrong patient. My gal promised to get to work on it right away. True to her word, she did. It took three hours, but I have my referral as promised.

I had a lot of choices this morning. I did succeed in the choice not to lose my temper, and yet still communicate I was angry. I chose to ask to leave a message for my doctor and when I was told that won’t be necessary, I could choose to call the office administrator and speak with them — once my referral was complete. I chose to say a silent prayer rather than speak out what was in my heart at the moment.

Lots of choices. Right now.. I can choose to be happy I have my referral completed. I see a specialist on April 14 at 10 am. I have instructions to call every morning between now and then to see if they have a cancellation.

I know that God does not make bad things happen to people. Things happen because we live in a sinful and fallen world. God is the ultimate hand holder. He holds me in his every day.

I know that he still has plans for me and the phone call from Thelma on monday was all part of that. I talked to her (via email yesterday) and she had no idea I was going through something. We aren’t friends, even though we’ve met. (I hostessed her a couple of years ago) I am however part of You Go Girl. Thelma is someone I intentionally put myself at the feet of to learn. 

The phone call is part of something new she is doing with her You Go Girl mentoring network. It just so happened the devotion on her heart for this month was Jeremiah 29:11. And so together we got to thank God for doctors, modern medicine, and telephones of all things.

So now, I wait some more and know the his plans for me include a future and a hope. And I can rest in that.  And finish my laundry.  It’s kind of piling up.

Let’s talk about plans.  Will you share with all of us a time when your plans and God’s didn’t totally mesh, but his turned out so much better?

Hell in the Hallway

I’ve heard it said that when God closes one door, He always opens another; but it’s hell in the hallway.

I’m in a hallway. A waiting room between finding something inside my body that does not belong, and finding answers. My doctor’s are working on a referral, the referral is working on insurance approval, and I am stuck waiting.

I don’t wait well.

I worry.

I google.

That makes me worry more.

Obsessive/compulsive types who are prone to worry — aka, people like me — should not be allowed to Google. Seriously. There are nasty things on google. Things that talk about survival rates, and stages, and symptoms and …

Oh how I hate the hallway.

This was Jeff’s first Easter without his Mom — he misses her and I worry that I ruined Easter for everyone by going to the hospital.

He had no one to call. And I worry about him.

I’ve decided it’s just a fibroid. A very big fibroid. And I’ve decided that since my white blood count was good, I must be right. Still. I have something that does not belong and I want it to go away.

So, since I have this thing growing inside of me, I decided to name it.

That only seems right. I named it Fred.

Jeff doesn’t like the name Fred and suggested we name it Georgetta.

Should I be worried about that? Laughter.

I told him I was thinking about making a sock puppet named Georgetta.

He didn’t laugh.

Now it’s HIS turn to worry about my coping skills.

I’m coping just fine. I just like it when he raises his right eyebrow up really high and rubs his beard.

THAT is funny!

I hate the hallway.

What do you guys do in the hallway? How do you keep from worrying when you can’t control the situation?

“We Found a Mass.”

 There are words a woman wants to hear and words a woman doesn’t.  “We found a mass,” definitely falls into the does not want to hear category. And yet, those are the very words my husband and I heard at Southcrest Hospital on Easter Morning.

My family and I had planned on spending Easter with my Dad. Instead we wound up leaving church early because I had gotten very ill, very suddenly.  My plan was to ride it out and hope the feeling passed and when it didn’t, I let Jeff take me to the hospital.

I didn’t want to go to the Hospital. I wanted to be home serving Easter dinner. I’d spent all day Saturday cooking for both the people at Ablaze who’d helped with our Egg Hunt, and for our family on Sunday. I hadn’t finished cleaning everything up yet and I wanted to be at home cleaning that up before my Dad came over.  My son was home from college for the weekend, I wanted to be with him, enjoying our time together. I didn’t want to be tired, and in an emergency room waiting on test results.

I’ve been having strange symptoms for a few months now. Mood swings, stomach pain, horrible monthly cycles, and my Dr and I had concluded that I was in early menopause. The thought that maybe I’m depressed had crossed my mind as well, even though it didn’t really seem to fit everything else. Secretly, I was afraid I was going crazy.

The good news is:

I’m not depressed — I really am tired from all the blood loss and whatnot.

I’m not crazy.

I’m not in menopause.

The not-so-great news is, I have a mass in my uterus that is 5x8x10 cm. (about the size of a small orange perhaps.) that is causing all these erratic symptoms.

An unwelcome intruder has been the cause of my distress.

I talk to my regular doctor today and we’ll get the appropriate referrals to a gynecologist. I’ve already self diagnosed this puppy as a fibroid. Those are simple to fix and are not uncommon in women my age.

Even more important than my self diagnosis and stupid jokes I’ve been telling for a day now about errant Easter Eggs, is the phone message I received this morning. A beloved friend called via phone tree and spoke about Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans not to harm you, but for a future and a hope.”

God has a plan for me, and for my family, and for you my readers. His plans are always better than mine.

My plan, was to be in church, have dinner with my family, and just enjoy the day. His plan involved my getting so sick I had to go to the hospital. Without my getting sick, I wouldn’t know about the mass and wouldn’t be receiving proper medical treatment. His hand is on this, on my family, and on me — praying you see His hand on your day as well.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved.