Fill me up, Lord

"You will seek me, & find me when you seek me w/ all your heart," God says. But that is not the whole story. I'm not just a searcher. I'm also a hider. You too. We have to come face-to-face w/ our tendency to hide, to get lost. ~John Ortberg, Love Beyond Reason

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Can Christians Be Democrats?

EXCELLENT article to read re: Can Christians Be Democrats?? And what effect that standing up for a neutral/or different view other than the Republican view can have on a congregation.

The article is very interesting and well written. It was in yesterday's NY Times - available online. The article is entitled "Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock"

This article is about a sermon series by Greg Boyd at Woodland Hills Church in Minnesota - where he basically says Christians shouldn't be Republican or Democrat. Basically while he is in his own words, no liberal, he says that when Christians win the culture wars they inevitably lose. It is an interesting article. Take a look.

I was raised to be purple.
(which I think in this day and age is rare, & a credit to my parents)
I tend to vote occasionally blue, & mostly red...
but I never vote based on party.

If the link doesn't work try:
Disowning Conservative Politics Is Costly for Pastor

From Celtic Daily Prayer

Here am I, Lord,
I've come to do Your will.

Here am I, Lord,
in Your presence I'm still.


Contentment is...
*watching kids play in the pool
*your Diet Pepsi arriving at your table
*grilled cheese

*knowing that life is enough, and there will be more in the future
*being willing to have patience
*accepting and letting the flow go
*knowing you are cared for

*understanding that there is nothing you can do to make God love you more
*understanding that there is nothing you can do to make God love you less

*having an inner joy that is independent of one's feelings and circumstances
*surrendering your plans for God's

An appointment with your friendly medblog

I am ADDICTED to medical blogs. Here are some of my favorite:
*Stories from a young, female UROLOGIST!! Too funny!
*Be careful, literally, some potty humor!!!
Family doctor, but currently stalemate due to neurological stuffs.
Love her tidbits about patients.
Hi-LARIOUS stories about annoying mothers that call/come to the ER for non-emergency purposes.
A doula/childbirth educator/becoming a nurse
Her stories are heartrending, and sometimes graphic!
A medstudent journals through her practicum.
She substitutes as a school special ed. aide.
Doctor blogs on religion and politics.
He actually TAKES PICTURES of his patients x-rays etc.& posts them.
licensed psychotherapist...
Sometimes blogs (appropriately of course) about patients.
Young pediatrician blogs about her life and those pesky mothers again!!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Sanding Down of the Sharp Edges

I (Jill) am still dealing with the "turning 30" thing....
I liked this article, it's titled "Anne Lamott on Jesus".
*She has a 2-part interview on I encourage you to check her out.
Her books are on my "to do" list. (Traveling Mercies, Bird By Bird, etc.)

Anne says,

"I have a part of me--the part that isn't neurotic and grasping and furious and begging--a part of me that is a very quiet, more mature, slightly wiser self. That has sprung very much from having lost a few people that I absolutely and simply couldn't survive without. And that has come from the early hardships I experienced as a single mother without any money and a colicky infant. And then a bigger boy.

That wisdom has sprung mostly from getting older and realizing, you know, the Rolling Stones said, "You don't always get what you want, but you get what you need."

My experience is that you don't always get what you want. But you get what you get. As you get older, you start to work with what you're getting instead of crossing your arms bitterly because you didn't get what you wanted. "OK, here we are. A new twenty-four hours is starting right now, and this is what we've got on our hands now."

Age is just such an incredible blessing, the softening and the rounding of corners. And the sort of meat-tenderizing effects of aging. Like being a stone in the river – the sanding down of the sharp edges."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Seeking Him: Experiencing Revival: Truth Encounter

My Thoughts & Notes from:
Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival;
by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Lesson 3: Honesty: Silence is Not Always Golden

Day 2: Truth Encounter: Honest to God

Literacygirl writes: I don't want to hide my wrongdoings before the Lord. I need to get real, and I need help from the Lord. I don't want to lie to myself about my real worth and my very real sin.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes: Be honest with God about some sin or failure in your life.
Literacygirl writes: gossip; spending $ I don't have, instead of using the amount of God-given resources that I have been blessed with; hatred/unforgiveness/bitterness in my heart; not fully trusting God with all areas of my life; not putting God in 1st place in my life; putting garbage from television and magazines in my mind.

Day 3: Truth Encounter: Walking in the Light

Literacygirl writes: Before I take intentional time to enter the presence of God, I need to assess my heart, confess, acknowledge wrongdoing, and ask for forgiveness. I need to "get right with God" do have true community and relationship with God.

Not really doing that at this time...usually I just pray about my wants, or just give a quickie shout-out to God about helping me while reading/meditating on the Word in terms of interpretation/application.

Day 4 Truth Encounter: Breaking the Silence Thoughts
Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes: Our natural instinct is to avoid telling the truth about ourselves. Adam & Eve made the same futile attempt. After partaking of that which God had forbidden, Adam & Eve lost their innocence and discovered their guilt -and their nakedness. Immediately then went into concealment mode -sewing together fig leaves and looking for ways to blend into the landscape.
(Genesis 3:8-9)

Literacygirl writes: How do we "blend into the landscape" today?

I would love your thoughts on this issue.

The only thing I could come up with was that we do this by:
-by comparing our sins to others'
-trying to avoid thinking about our sin/being in denial
-having too much sinful pride
-by being silent (A lie of omission is still a lie.)
-by staying away from God (I am REALLY good at this absurd technique)

Day 5 Thoughts...

Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes: Do I see my sin as God sees it, or do I tend to think in terms of "weaknesses," "problems," "slip-ups,", or "personality quirks"?
Literacygirl writes: OUCH!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes: Am I guilty of speaking graciously to others while harboring hatred or bitterness in my heart toward them?
Literacygirl writes: Yikes, God is speaking to me YET again on this issue! Keep on working on it!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes:
Do I put up walls to keep people from seeing the "real me"?
Am I willing to:
~let others into my life;
~be honest about my spiritual needs;
~to ask for prayer about those needs;
~to be accountable to others for areas where I need to grow or change?
Literacygirl writes: I am able to be somewhat authentic with one good friend, but I feel with others it is only met with silence, indifference, or shallow Christian cliches. I don't feel supported when I share and try to be vulnerable. Perhaps I am judging others' responses & reactions.

How do we "blend into the landscape" today?
Remember.... I would love your thoughts on this issue.

Things that keep me HEALTHY, HAPPY, & WISE

-CONFESSION (so good for my soul!);
-sharing my gratefulness to God & giving Him praise;
-going to small group; -going to church;
-listening to worship music/great teaching in the car (radio or CDs;)
-meditating & reading about the record of God's goodness to His people.(Psalms 42)
-Rereading The Search for Significance book/workbook;
-Studying the Word (NIV Study Bible);
-Reading the Word; Update: currently reading Matthew & 2 Chronicles;
(The Living Bible, or The Message);

Hanging with my diva posse; (You KNOW who you are)

-yoga, -walking, -meeting with my workout partner;
-getting enough sleep @ NIGHT, -decluttering; -journaling;
-vacations, -going to the pool (water relaxes me, I am a fish);

-being outside & appreciating nature
I need it but I often don't want to or feel like it;

Materialistic, but really does wonders:
-wearing cute clothes (preferably from Ann Taylor)
-getting my hair done; manis/pedis; massages;

And finally, those of you who know me well.....




What I am working on....

#1 I am working on anger and bitterness I have towards someone. My anger and bitterness affect no one but myself. (and my relationship with God) Why would I want to bring such things into my life & cause physical, spiritual, & emotional damage? Why would I want to give someone that much power??? But, forgiveness is HARD.
It sucks.
It means getting rid of my pride.
It requires humility.

And sucking it up.

#2 An oldie but a goodie: I know I need to work on identifying the lies I tell about myself and replace them with truths, specifically God's truth.

#3 Feeling my feelings, instead of eating them. Turning to God first, instead of food. Not making food and television my idol.

#4 Surrendering my worries about being single, and know that while it is normal to have desires to have children and be married, God is like a parent. He is all-knowing, he sees the whole picture/journey, and knows what is best for me. I need to work on not being angry w/ God in this area too.

#5 Thinking about what turning 30 signifies to me.... using this decade to produce personal, spiritual, emotional, physical & growth;

#6 Making healthy choices regarding exercising and eating regardless of whether it causes me to lose weight or not;

#7 Accepting myself;

#8 Knowing that making decisions based on feelings isn't a good idea. Feelings can be very deceiving & changeable.

Shower me with love............


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Virtues of Singlehood

The Virtues of Singlehood

Once upon a time, a girl asked a guy "Will you marry me?"
The guy said, "No"
and the girl lived happily ever after
and went shopping, dancing,
drank martinis,
always had a clean house,
never had to cook, stayed skinny
and farted whenever she wanted.

The End.

PS: We do have more time to play and work,
but we're also responsible for what we choose to do.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

He is Born!


My nephew arrived Saturday, July 22nd at 3:03 pm.

(for some cute pictures, click on the "Just Catherine" link on the right side of the screen.)

I saw him today and he is adorable.
Beautiful big blue eyes,
reddish/blondish hair,
LOOOOONG toes and fingers!

He is also cute and scrumptious.

I got to hold him for about 2 hours while he slept and cooed and cried. I even got to suck saliva out of him. Daddy Matthew took care of the dirty diaper. I learned a lot about breast-feeding. I learned.... that I want to be a virgin for at least a few more days.... but being an aunt is just great!

According to the lactation nurse, he is one of the "better suckers on the floor"! Way to be, Asher! Can't wait to see you until tomorrow!!! Good job Cath! I am proud of you!!! Enjoy that vanilla pudding with oreo you ordered!

Asher -Beautiful Boy

A favorite of mine, a lullaby-love song by John Lennon -

"Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)"

Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monsters gone,
He's on the run and your AUNT JILL's here,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Before you go to sleep,
Say a little prayer,
Every day in every way,
It's getting better and better,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we'll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it's a long way to go,
But in the meantime,

Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,
Darling ASHER.

Sustaining Life Medically/Alternatively/Nutritionally

Please read this article, and let me know your views. It is very thought-provoking, and just plain heartbreaking....It deals with the legal issues of what age is appropriate to decide when to stop cancer treatment.

this is a view posted on a message board I read:

As a doctor, I have had adult Jehovah's witnesses die in front of me because they refused a blood transfusion (for deeply held religious commitments) which would have saved them. It is actually a criminal offense for me to give a transfusion to a Jehovah's Witness who has refused it. This is their right and I don't challenge it. I have also been presented with a six year old boy who ruptured his spleen (slightly) when he fell off a playground slide. He was slowly bleeding to death over the course of several days. The treatment for this is for a surgeon to open his abdomen and stop the bleeding, but surgery causes even more bleeding. As the anesthesiologist, it's my job to transfuse patients who need it. His mother was a Jehovah's witness who refused consent for him to have a transfusion. The local children's protective services stepped in and asked a judge to grant them temporary custody of this child, which he did. After gaining temporary custody, they consented for me to give the boy a transfusion if I thought it was necessary to save his life during the surgery. That made it a criminal offense for me not to transfuse him if he needed it to save his life. Fortunately, the surgeon and I were able to get him through the surgery without a transfusion. So, he lived and everyone was happy. However, a six year old child will refuse a tetanus shot, refuse to take cough medicine, refuse to even go into a doctor's office if it's left up to him. A small child cannot be expected to make his own medical or religious choices and there's not much dispute about this.

But a 16 year old person is a tougher call. Chemotherapy is horrible and elderly patients refuse it all the time without argument from anyone. If they die sooner as a result, we accept it as their choice because we all know how unpleasant chemotherapy is. This young man has already had chemotherapy and therefore knows better than most of us how bad it feels. Yet, he is technically not yet 18 and so not yet able to (legally) decide for himself. The question then is weather he should be treated as a child who cannot decide for himself, or as an adult who should be left alone to decide for himself even if his decision shortens his life.

All judges have to live with the results of the decisions they make. Personally, I doubt that the judge is a fascist or a Nazi. I think it's much more likely that he dreads watching a 16 year person die. I've had that experience and understand his reluctance. And so, he followed the letter of the law, imposed treatment on this person knowing that the suffering from the chemotherapy can be blamed on the state law...While also knowing that the (quicker) death from the cancer cannot be put on him (even by himself). Since the young man in this article is not my patient or my son, I don't know if I agree with this decision, but I think I know how it was made...

I'd appreciate reading the responses of anyone who has an opinion on this article.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Forgiving Thomas

My "nephew" is really my cousin Cath's son. *YOU HAVE A SON CATH!!!! HOW WEIRD IS THAT??? Wasn't it just yesterday we played "annie" with Robin and stalked Vincent?

He is due July 19th or the 20th. I can't remember.
Update: She said kind of both. Hopefully she will add a comment so we virgins can understand this.
UPDATE 2: Cath says, "due date I have is July 20th. But, I've always turned to the next week (39 weeks, 40 weeks, etc) on Wednesdays, which is tomorrow the 19th. So I guess its the 20th, but I don't know why. 40 weeks and 1 day? Anyway, normal human gestation is anywhere from 37-42 weeks. They give you a "due date" in the middle of 40 weeks, just as an average. but it doesn't mean anything."

Well Cath, at least you are not an elephant. Doesn't it have a gestation period of a year or something?

Anyway, his mother (my sister-cousin)aka Catherine Cousin Carlson McNiel (check out her blog-see column to the right) said that his middle name will be "THOMAS" after his father and grandfather's middle name. It's kind of a tradition on her side as well, as her brother has his father's first name.

Well anyway, I am dying to know his first name. And she is keeping it a secret, and like I totally respect that, but the suspense is killing me. I mean she won't even give me the first letter or even the LAST letter in his first name. So right now his name is Blank Thomas McNiel, and isn't that a little sad? The poor aunt needs to know her nephew's name! Especially since I told the mother, that she was going to have to share him with me. I shared MY stuff with her.... like popsicles, books, Odyssey tapes, a MINI-VAN... Now granted, she does have to do the laboring, etc., but I would be more than willing to split the labor pains with her. I'm not even kidding. I really would. I just hope she pops it out soon, so BLANK gets a name!!!
Last week a mentor in my life said that I needed to forgive this anonymous person I keep mentioning. I knew that... but her saying it gave me extra motivation. Up until that point, I wasn't trying to forgive her, just praying for good blessings to fall upon her.

It's really not going very well.

Okay, yesterday in small group I continued to ask for prayer about my anger/forgiveness issue.

I went to bed last night, intending to read verses on overcoming food-related strongholds, from a book titled "PRAYING GOD'S WORD" by Beth Moore. (I am a Beth Moore groupie.) It is the sequel/prayer book to a study I did awhile ago titled Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds. Anyway, I open my book to a section on "FORGIVENESS"! (now I am always skeptical when people say they will open the Bible randomly and say that a particular verse spoke to them, but this is the real thing, I promise.)

The chapter was actually really good. It had some great narrative advice and broke the process of forgiveness down. It had scriptures that you could personally apply to each situation/person. I am looking forward (sorta) to working through this chapter. Because like so many people have said, holding bitterness in your heart is just hurting yourself, & can cause you to be spiritually/physically sick. Plus, it's sin! Isn't that enough???

My FINAL (well, He probably has more coming...) sign from God was that a woman who I don't really know, but for some reason, she forwarded me this devotional on FORGIVENESS!!! HELLO GOD.... I GET IT!!! But I really thank You for the reminders and for your patient love.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Highlights of Summer

I've just been totally enjoying my summer. I was really worried with the lack of structure, what exactly might come about in terms of behaviors and taking care of myself.

Here are the highlights so far:
(It's neat to see that the highlights are simple things...)
swimming with Cath
Sarah's softball game
watching LOST with Penny
joining a great class at my gym
FINALLY restarting my "healthy lifestyle"
getting tan from all the walking I've been doing
watching reruns of Starting Over & Oprah; getting hooked on SHALOM IN THE HOME
hosting 4th of July with my immediate and extended family
reading through the Pauline Epistles! (am going through the Gospels now)
reading whatever the heck I want to
reading & also reading...
hanging out with my small group divas
WOMEN of FAITH conference (well the sleepover we had between the 2 days
having my aunt and uncle move back to Illinois
going to a CUBS game (yes, they kinda suck this year)
meeting friends for lunch
growing in my relationship with Christ, and being challenged especially by passages in Ephesians and Colossians.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


from (Christian psychiatrist from the UK)

One of the biggest issues in mental health at the moment is considering your identity. If you can work out who you are and can be happy with this, then it is a major force in achieving self-esteem, avoiding depression and coping with what life has to throw at us.

I have been really struck by these verses from 2 Corinthians 5v16-17 recently:

[16] So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. [17] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Verse 17 is more widely quoted, but verse 16 is key - there are two ways of looking at someone: with the eyes of the world or the eyes of God. The example given is in the second half of verse 16 - do you see Jesus as a simple carptenter's son or as the son of the Most High God?

Likewise, do you see yourself as how gossip magazines see you - fat, overweight, in need of a pamper or the gym or agony aunts - or do you see yourself with heavenly eyes - as a new creation in Christ.
Donna Crouch, put it, "we need to put away the magazines of lies and open the Book of Truth - the Bible - to see who we really are."

Who are you?
And where are you looking for the answer: heaven or earth?
And when you find the answer, do you put it into practice?
What would this look like for you?

~Just another reminder not to get caught up in my "Christian Living" or "Self-Help" books, and go to the book with real spiritual food. I really need to work on accepting myself as a single, Christian, female educator. I need to be able to define what my likes and dislikes are and how to put a plan into place that allows for these preferences.