Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More of my thoughts on healthcare

In yesterday's post, I wrote about the way the Christian community has responded to our new healthcare legislation.  This post is not about that.  I'm writing this post as a pharmacist, and as a pharmacist I think our healthcare system had to change.  I'm not sure what the new law will bring.  I can say that it will bring somethings that are good, and somethings that may not be so good.  I'm optimistically waiting to see what happens.

I was very skeptical when the Medicare Part D prescription drug plans for seniors when into effect.  I mean, our government is not known for doing things quickly and cost effectively.  However, I knew our senior citizens needed some help paying for their medications. More times that I'd like to remember, I saw a little lady  make the decision over whether she was going to her medicine or if she was going pay for groceries, or the electric bill.  While it wasn't (and still isn't) perfect, Medicare Part D changed that.  Senior citizen had options, and the relief in their faces was evident.

There are other members of our society that need options.  When I worked in retail pharmacy I saw people go to desperate measures to pay for their medication.  I saw people go take out pay-day loans to pay for their prescriptions.  I'm pretty sure I had a customer who was selling herself on the streets to get the money for her medication.  I had another customer who was selling some of his Viagra on the street, just so he could afford to have one for himself.  Welcome to my life as a pharmacist in north Baton Rouge.  Pay-day loans, prostitution, selling prescription drugs on the black market.  Not an easy thing to watch.

"What about Medicaid?  Doesn't that pay for medication for the poor?", you ask.

Yes, it does pay for medication for the poorest of the poor.  However, there are lots of families living off $20000 to $40000 a year that either can't get insurance through their employer because it is not offered or it is too expensive.  What do they do?  They pray they never get sick is what they do.  They ignore their symptoms when they do get sick, and then they are so sick they have to be admitted to a hospital for treatment - then they have bill that drives them to bankruptcy.  They go to the pharmacist because they have a staph infection on their leg that has gotten really bad and ask the pharmacist for some over-the-counter medication to treat it with.  And when the pharmacist tells them that they need to go to the nearest ER right away or else they are going to lose their leg because the infection is that bad, they sigh in dismay and walk out the door looking for another answer because they just can't afford an ER visit. 

Where is the body of Christ to help these people?  Was the task too big for the church?  Did the church choose to look the other way?  I don't know. I know there are Christian organizations about there, trying to help, but their resources are limited.

So, now the government has stepped in.  Not what I was hoping for, but it is done.  And I pray that God will use it for His glory.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My thoughts on healthcare

So, healthcare reform passed.  I hate to say this, but I'm really disappointed with the way much of the Christian population has responded to the news.  Hear me out.  I listened to a sermon on Friday about a Christian's submission to government.  You can listen to it hereI urge you to listen to it.  It will be 40 minutes well spent.  The speaker is the lead pastor of the church James and I have been attending.

The main point of the sermon that I want to write about is found in the following verse:
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.  - 1 Peter 2:17 (ESV)

The person who was the emperor when Peter penned those words was Nero.  Yes, Nero.  The very same Nero who executed Christians.  The apostle Peter says to honor that man.  Take a minute to think to think about the things you have said over the past few days about President Obama, Nancy Peloci, and your own congressmen/represenatives over the past few days.  Was it "honoring" when you compared our president to Lenin or when you compared him to a murderer or when you called the Madame Speaker a liar?  I don't mean to offend you, and if you are getting angry at my words your beef is not with me.  Your beef is with the Man who penned the Holy Scriptures.

Here's another thing to think about while you are steaming mad about healthcare reform.  Go back to the first century in Rome.  You are standing in a Roman Amphitheater.  It is loud and crowded.  There are Roman soldiers and lions.  You see a woman on her knees in the middle of all the chaos.  You go to talk to her.  Her name is Blandina.  You start to tell her about how bad things are here in the US in the year 2010 because we are going to have some changes to our healthcare system.  After ranting for a while, it occurs to you to ask her what is troubling her.  It turns out that she is about to be fed to the lions on account of her faith.  How's healthcare reform sound now?  Honor the emperor.  Honor our President.

I do understand that the new law may result in more abortions, which is a travesty.  If that is what your main problem with the legislation is, then take up the cause for the unborn. . .but "Honor Everyone."  And remember God has placed our leaders in authority, and it is God who is in control of all things.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Romans 13:1

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More Ethiopian Coffee

In an older post I wrote about Ethiopian coffee, and I really enjoyed it.  I found another variety of it at Starbucks, and I tried it this morning.  I thought it was very good, but is it stronger than the first kind I tried.  This had a more robust flavor, similar to a dark roast coffee.  If you aren't a fan of dark roasts, you won't care for this.  Next time I make this coffee, I will probably make it a little more dilute that I did today. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Adoption Update

There have been some changes to the adoption process in Ethiopia. I think these are good changes, but we still don't know how this is all going to pan out. I don't like not knowing.  I like to have things planned out and in order.  I like to know what to expect.  But there are some times when there won't be answers for a while.  And I those times I just have to have faith that God does know the answers.

Here's the news from our agency:
The Ethiopian courts have stated that any court cases after April 9th, 2010 require adoptive parents to attend. This is due to over 50 cases of families (no families from our agency) not accepting their children upon meeting them for their US Embassy appointment. This requires a great deal of additional work for the Ethiopia system to deal with in which families have not accepted their referred children, after the case has already legally been approved and finalized in court. In an effort to deal with this problem, the courts have stated that families must now attend court dates (and thus meet and "approve"  their child before the adoption is finalized in court).
This will likely mean that families will be required to take two trips to Ethiopia.  One trip to attend their child's court hearing and a second trip to attend their child's embassy appointment and take their child home. There is usually 1 to 2 months between each.

The way the process had gone before was something like this:  You get a referral for a child, then if you say you want that child, there is a court date in Ethiopia where you will be declared the legal parents. . .You don't meet the child until several weeks later when you have your embassy appointment and bring the child home.  I can't imagine refusing a child at the last minute, but it's happened.  We have several questions, but our social worker is still trying to get further information herself from the staff in Ethiopia. 
There are some good things that come with having to travel twice.  We'd get to meet our child earlier, we'd have more time to take in the surroundings, learn about the country, and shop for souvenirs.  So we wait.  

The other news we have is that we got an email from our social worker yesterday explaining that we projected wait time for siblings (which is what we were hoping for) could be as long as two years.  We really don't want to wait that long, so we are rethinking our plans. . .siblings or not, a toddler or an infant.  Decisions.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Basement #2

I spent Thursday and Friday last week painting in the basement.  I got a lot done, but it still feels like I'm nowhere near the end.  It is a large room, and the walls were not in great shape.  There were lots of holes to patch up before I could start painting.  I have learned how to float drywall and patch up holes that spackle won't fix.  Here's some pictures of on hole that I fixed.  I had tried to patch it up with spackle, but it didn't work.  The spackle would not stick.  I asked a few questions at Lowe's about how to fix it, and got what I needed.  I bought joint compound and non-adhesive drywall joint tape.

I applied a small amount of joint compound to the problem area and them applied the joint tape.  I applied another layer of point compound on top of the tape and let it dry over night.  Then I sanded the area smooth.
I prefer joint compound instead of spackle now.  It is smoother, and less messy.  This is a picture after the first coat of paint.  It still needs another coat, but it looks better.
 Our house had popcorn ceilings throughout when we bought it.  We hired a painter to remove most it and repaint.  We didn't have him do any work in the basement, and the stairway still had a popcorn ceiling.  We removed it ourselves with a putty knife.  James scraped off the areas that I could not reach.  This is not something that you should do yourself is you think our ceiling might have asbestos in it.  We knew ours did not.

 Here's the mess that it left behind.  See all those little white specks?  It took a while to vacuum that all up!
 Some pictures of the painting in progress

 I should have some time to paint next Friday and Saturday.  I hope to have one coat of paint up everywhere by the end of next weekend.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Easter Decorations

I love Easter and springtime.  On Saturday I decided to put a few of our Easter decorations out.  I had considered not decorating this year because we are not hosting Easter dinner at our house this year.  The house looked a little bare though, so I got a few of them out. 

 Living Room
Dining Room
You may be wondering what the story is behind these unusual bunnies.  They came from The Mustard Seed in Jackson, Mississippi.  The Mustard Seed is a Christian organization that serves the needs of mentally challenged adults.  One of their fundraisers is pottery that is decorated by the adults that live in their group homes.  They have a gift shop, and you can even order online.  They sell ceramic crosses, bakeware, coffee cups, vases, birds, frogs, angels, and other items.  I really like these bunnies.  They are so unusual and colorful, and they remind me that all people are God's handiwork. 

Notice the little colored eggs in the candle holder.  Those are M&M candies.  James was making a list out for the grocery store on Saturday and I asked him to pick up some kind of pink or pastel candy that was hard, like M&Ms or jelly beans.  I told him that I wanted to put the candy in the candle holder in the dining room.  He came home from the store with three different packages of candies.  One was pink Peeps, another was little chocolate eggs wrapped in pastel foil, and the last was the M&Ms in the picture.  I asked him why he bought the Peeps - neither of us care for them, and what a mess that make in the candle holder.  He said, "You asked for pink candy."  I guess I should have been more clear when I told him what I wanted the candy for!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Difficult decisions

Several weeks ago, I wrote about some things that had not been very fun that were keeping us busy.  You can read the post here.  In that post, I talked about out microwave going out.  While that was certainly not fun, there were somethings that were much more serious weighing on our minds.  In mid January, there was an announcement made at our church about on upcoming event that the pastor was very excited about.  Out of respect for the church, I'm not going to write about an of the specifics of the event here, but I will say that the event was something that we could not support in good conscience.  We talked with our pastors about our concerns, and after doing that it because clear to us that we needed to find another church.  Our hearts were broken.  We loved the people there, so many of whom had floored us with prayers and encouragement when we began the adoption process.  The decision to leave was very difficult, but we knew in our hearts that it was what we needed to do.

We have visited a couple of other churches, and I think we found we found one that we will eventually join.  We're taking things slowly.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Preparations for Haiti

Hopefully by the end of next week I'll have everything in order for the trip.  The past few days have been rather productive.  My flights are booked, and our team got together on Saturday to meet each other and make plans.  I need to get a vaccination or two and get my doctor to sign some paperwork.

We will be leaving on April 16th and we will return home on April 25th.  The city in Haiti that we will fly in to is Cap-Haitian.  The hospital that we will be working at is in Milot, which is about 12 miles south of Cap-Haitian.

I'm excited and thankful for this opportunity.  I'm thankful for a husband is supportive and not worried about fending for himself at home for a week.  I'm thankful that I was about to get the time off work, and I'm thankful that I was about to get connected with some other women and we're able to go together.  James was not in favor of me traveling alone.

If you'd like to participate in our ministry, the thing we need most are your prayers.  Pray for our safety and health and most of all, for us to faithful servants of Christ on this trip.  If you are interested in donating, you can click on the Paypal button in the left side of the page (if you are reading this on FB, you'll have to go my blog to see the button) or send me an email at journeytohaiti@gmail.com.  Donations of any amount will be greatly appreciated.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Experimenting with a new lens

I mentioned in an older post that the main lens I had been using was not working very well.  I was able to find a good deal at Amazon on two new lenses.  I got both of them for less than $200! Here are a few shots with one of the new lenses.  This lens is a Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8.

Spring is coming!  This is a bud on our dogwood tree.
Daisy, our border collie
I'm really pleased the lens so far.  I'm looking forward to going to the botanical garden and the zoo in a few weeks to shoot some more.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Where God will take you

A few weeks ago we heard a moving sermon about Christian service. You can listen to it here.
One point that stuck with me was this: If you do not use the gifts that God gave you in the church, the church will be hindered.

The closing hymn that week was "Have thine own Way, Lord"

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

I found that to be moving, convicting, and empowering. God will mold us after his will and we can rely upon his power to live lives of obedience.

A book that is never too far from by bedside table is Don't Waste your Life. This is a wonderful book, but be ready to be convicted if you read it. If you are a Christian, get ready to reminded that your life is not your own, you were bought with a price, and the Good Lord has work for you to do here. Be ready for an adventure.

God is taking us down some exciting road because we said "Yes." We're going to have children from Ethiopia. . .and I'm going to Haiti in April with three other women from the church we've been attending. We all work in the medical field, and we will be volunteering with The CRUDEM Foundation. The hospital that we will be working at is called Hôpital Sacré Coeur. It is located in a town called Milot. I will post more information soon, but we'd appreciate your prayers as we prepare for our trip.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ornaments with a purpose

One verse that has been near to our hearts since beginning the adoption process is James 1:17.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (NIV)

That verse is lived out in lives of Christians in different ways.  Some of us are called to adopt, but not all of us are.  There are many ways to look after orphans besides adopting. Prayer is a huge way you can help people you know who are adopting - pray for the health of their future children, pray for the potential adoptive parents as they prepare to parent a child from different circumstances, pray for the adoption process and the social workers involved.  Go visit this family at Filled with Praise for another way you can help "look after orphans."  They have Christmas ornaments for sale.

Here's the front:

and the back:
They can be personalized with a name, a different country in Africa, or a different bible verse. I suppose these could even be given a "missions" related theme instead of adoption.  Please visit their blog if you know someone who would like one of these, and if you are part of our family check with us before you order one - you might be getting one already!

Friday, March 5, 2010


This cute little dog sure can be bad sometimes.  Wednesday night after we had finished dinner, we decided to have some ice cream for dessert.  I got the ice cream out of the freezer, and I began to scoop it up.  It was MUCH softer than I expected it to be, and the first scoop when sailing out of my hand.  It landed on the floor, and before I could do anything about it, Lily had picked it up in her mouth like it was a ball and ran away with it.  She looked so funny.  I have never laughed so hard at her before.  Daisy, our border collie, followed her around while she chewed on the ice cream.  Daisy gobbled up little pieces that fell out of Lily's mouth.

Here are a couple of photos of the crime as it took place. 
That one is blurry, partly because she was chewing so fast and partly because I was laughing so hard I couldn't keep the camera still.  She had already devoured most of the ice cream at this point.

Licking her lips in pleasure after she is finished.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Are you happy?

You may have already read this, but this is a good post about happiness and contentment.
I don't want my children to be happy

I also love that you can almost hear her southern accent in her writing.