Friday, September 30, 2005

Baby Steps

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Experts have stated that individuals change more between 20 and 30 years of age than any other time in their lives. Often the hardest part of this growth is discerning between who God created us to be and who others say that we should be. We all want to please our parents, our grandparents, and we all hope that we will be a person of worth. How much time do we spend looking into the future imagining ourselves in this career or that? If you’re like me, we rarely looked backwards for direction.
Some of my darkest times have been when I am on my face before the Lord searching for direction, any type of leading from Him to tell me who I should be.
It has been at those times that the Lord has quietly reminded me of who I am. Gently, He has reminded me of all the experiences that have shaped me, all the characteristics that He has created in me. As the picture of who I am becomes clear so does my direction for the future. You see, God never makes mistakes, even the mistakes we make He uses to refine us. When I am honest about God’s work in my life I understand His presence and His calling. All other voices seem to fall away and I can be confident of my future.
How much more effective will we be when we are doing what we are uniquely created for? The path may seem narrow and lonely at first, but look at Noah, Moses, Esther, David, Mary, Peter and Paul. Each of them was called by God to do something that seemed crazy or at the very least, impossible. And yet God was faithful to his creation. Take stock of your life and spend time listening for His voice.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Identity Crisis

Yesterday I made my own coffee, and went to work in my pajamas. It was my first day home as an official author. Angel, my four year old Yorkie, seemed quite content with this new set-up. After all she’d been with me since my first at-home office. I had promised myself that I would never work out of my home again unless two things were different. 1. I was doing something creative. 2. That I had a family, you can’t imagine how lonely it can get when you spend twelve hours a day by yourself only interacting with co-workers virtually.
I am still attempting to find a routine for myself, I enjoy working in the mornings and have a list of other house hold work that is also mounting. Yesterday after I had exhausted my brain capacity for words I set myself to cleaning out the refrigerator. Between Nate and I both working crazy hours, never fully feeling moved in and the onset of morning/all the time sickness, especially whenever I enter the kitchen, you can imagine how neglected and over grown our fridge had become. I was sure that something would grab me and suck me in. I considered taking a bat with me incase anything had truly become animated and developed a personality. By the time I had cleaned the kitchen, found something left in the fridge that could still me made into dinner and jumped in the shower it hit me:
A line from one of those fifties housewife manuals kept going through my head about having dinner on the table and looking nice for your husband when he got home.
Its very confusing to be a be a modern woman. I love the fact that I can have all the little details around the house done so I can just enjoy my time with my husband. But at the same time I am so thankful for my writing that doesn’t make me just a housewife. Isn’t that awful? What is wrong with being a housewife? Nothing, except that I seem to have this internal stigma that I picked up somewhere, it seems like a loosing battle, when I was working I was torn because of everything nurturing and feminine that I didn’t have time to do for my home and family. This is just an observation, not a complaint. I think every woman needs to pursue what is right for her and her family. But I do think society has handed us all sorts of mixed messages. I can’t wait to be a mom and I am not ashamed of my new life, I just need to get comfortable in my new skin.

My favorite part of my day is the morning when I can spend time with the Lord and search for inspiration. Having time to myself allows me to pursue the Lord in creative ways. This has been a breath of fresh air in my spiritual walk, searching out ways to worship on my own that are true to how God created me and not just borrowing from what others say is Godly (not to deny that they are Godly pursuits.) Then I hope to end the day with tackling a tangible part of the house. I guess nesting is kicking in hard core. But I must admit Nate and I have been still been holding on to some of our college life-style and have plenty to do before we become parents.
I am attempting to do everything at once but my first focus is of course getting my manuscript back to the publishers with 13 days and counting. It’s like taking a master’s level course and I get to revamp the work I have done digging deeper to find my own voice. Daily, I am listening to great writers Lewis, Tolstoy, and more modern equivalents. I can’t describe what an honor it is to study the same craft and attempt to create something that is God glorifying.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sometimes, getting up in the morning and brushing your teath is the hardest part of the day - it all just hurts.
Tom Brady
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Black Eyed Monday

The gloomy Monday morning was like so many others. Stay in bed until 7:30 because you feel too sick to get out of bed, roll out of bed, throw on some clothes, try to run down stairs to get something to eat so you won’t get sick. Get sick the minute your foot hits the top step and makes you run back towards the bathroom. By the time I make it out of the house I can only grab my make-up and throw it into the car seat next to me hoping I’ll hit just enough stop-lights on the way to put some semblance of a face together but not too many to make me even later than I am already. So it’s a given that the first sight I see of myself in the morning is in the rearview mirror. I am greeted by a scary looking woman with Goth-like circles under her eyes from yesterday’s mascara. For me, the only bright spot in this Monday morning is that it will be my last. Starting next Monday, my morning commute will be from the kitchen to the office in my house. My colleagues will consist of my editors (corresponding through e-mail) and my dog Angel and water-cooler conversation will have to be a couple of morning blogs.

I can’t wait. The best part of the virtual office is that no-one has to see you until you want them to, that is my selfish thought for the day. But in the long run the best part of the virtual office will be that I can be mom and author all in the same day.

Friday I got called into a very important meeting, planning for a large corporate Ribbon Cutting hosting the governor and a US Senator, but the supposed fifteen minute meeting turned into forty-five and I found myself going 80 down the interstate to make it to my prenatal doctor’s appointment. My only thought, what if this was a basketball game, or my child’s first concert? How on earth do you do this juggling between home and family? I know there is no perfect solution but I look forward to doing the job I love at home near the family I love.
Now that I think of it there must have been a full-moon last night because this morning as I was groaning and groggy (not like me-I am typically a morning person.) Nate was cheerful and down-right perky, which proves it. The body-snatcher must have come in the night because that is NOT my husband. I love you babe, thanks for being sweet to me this morning

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Rain! whose soft architectural hands have power to cut stones, and chisel to shapes of grandeur the very mountains. ~Henry Ward Beecher

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24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God." Joshua 4:24 Posted by Picasa

Exodus 32:11
11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. "O LORD," he said, "why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?"
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Letters to a friend. . .

My life is filled with interesting men and women, and thankfully, these individuals always make me think and point me back to Him. Thought I might share a little of our latest conversation.

Thoughts on why God allows suffering. . .
Disclaimer: I don't believe that God allows suffering simply to draw people near to Him. I believe the Lord feels our pain more deeply than we can imagine. The creator of life would never find this a justifiable means to an end. I believe this is our rational to make sense of a God we don't understand. However, I do believe that suffering is one of the only experiences that radically reshape us into beings that long for Christ and can only exist because of Him. The only ways we discover how radically different His ways are from ours is through the vessel of suffering. (I know we've talked about this) Suffering, it seems is one of the only experiences that kicks us out of our docile reality and into a limbo like state in which we see our world and all the cracks in it. As God draws near to us in suffering we realize how foreign He is and how backwards his ways seem to us. It is in this state that we experience the Lord fully and realize how blind we have been. Suffering re-introduces us to God only one that is far bigger, far stronger and far more good and holy and pure than anything we have ever known.

That's just my thoughts on the power and magnitude of suffering. I am with you in that its our broken world that is the compelling factor, but I do believe God is aware and just to all that will happen and uses all things together for good. I rest in that so many times. My faith in him doesn't keep me from suffering but it does bring purpose and hope to it. If nothing else it makes me long for heaven and understand how sweet it will be to be whole and pure for eternity.

I know we've talked about this but I always hated that line "God doesn't give us more than we can handle!" Bullshit! I used to scream if that was true than we wouldn't call it SUFFERING we'd call it- I don't know- Coping. Then Mother Teresa said it best.
"God doesn't give me more than I can handle, I just wish He didn't think I could handle so much."

Leave it to Saint Theresa to sum up His power so succinctly. Obviously the women truly knew Christ in ways I can only hope.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A baby is a blank cheque made payable to the human race. ~Barbara Christine Seifert

One of the most obvious results of having a baby around the house is to turn two good people into complete idiots who probably wouldn't have been much worse than mere imbeciles without it. ~Georges Courteline, La Philosophie de Georges Courteline

It was the tiniest thing I ever decided to put my whole life into. ~Terri Guillemets

God's interest in the human race is nowhere better evinced than in obstetrics. ~Martin H. Fischer
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Big News from the Ndjerareou's

Nate and I are thrilled to announce that we will have a new addition to our home sometime in March. I don’t put much stock in the actual due date b/c the women in my family have a history of late births. I was 19 days late and my brother was 17 days late, so what goes around comes around I guess.

Seriously, we’re thrilled and feel very blessed. I will feel more blesses when morning sickness starts to subside. Someone said it should be more aptly named “progesterone poisoning” than morning sickness. More baby news soon I am sure.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Article in Cedar Rapids Gazette 9/7/05


Woman massages headaches away
SHUEYVILLE — Your head feels like it’s about to explode. You rub your temples to make it feel better. When that does no good, you pop some aspirin. You return to what you were doing, praying the pain will just leave you alone. Welcome to tension headache 101. ‘‘We really don’t want to be popping pills, but we don’t want to walk around with these headaches,’’ says Joan Wollschlager, 48, who says she has the solution. Massage. Ice. Exercise. That’s the regimen we follow with a sore leg muscle. When you realize the head has dozens upon dozens of muscles, why not do the same for a headache? ‘‘They call it a tension headache,’’ Joan says. ‘‘Something has to be tense.’’ After suffering through headaches her entire life, Joan has spent more than two decades researching her theories. She is a walking testament to how it works. ‘‘I used to be able to count the days I didn’t have a headache in a month on one hand. Now, I can count the days I do have one,’’ she says. Joan is so confident her methods work that Friday she will present her findings to the neurology department at University Hospitals in Iowa City. She feels the medical community can do its part to teach sufferers how to massage away their headaches. After all, Joan says, 40 million Americans have regular headaches and 90 percent of them are tension headaches. They cost businesses $50 billion a year in lost time and health care costs. Living in Shueyville (really rural Swisher) for a year after moving from Marion, Joan has set up The Headache Clinic in her home. She has added a branch office at the recently opened Sisters Health Club Inc., at Czech Square in Cedar Rapids. For her full time job, Joan’s a dental hygienist in periodontics at the College of Dentistry at the University of Iowa. She calls it ‘‘delightful,’’ because ‘‘people who wind up in the periodontics department are people who really want to keep their teeth.’’ Joan and her husband, Blane, also 48, are originally from North Dakota. He’s an electrical engineer at Rockwell Collins, although they took time out in the early 1990s to work as missionaries for Trans World Radio in Africa. Joan’s past jobs have ranged from selling radio advertising to booking a convention center — all while suffering headaches. Migraines — headaches that attack one side of the head like a stabbing ice pick — could derail Joan for days at a time. Then, she put two and two together and realized processed sausage caused them. Now, she limits what she eats, like pepperoni pizza. Tension headaches are a different animal. They hurt all over. Joan learned a bit about them a couple decades ago while working for a dentist who charted muscle pain in the head. She was hurting in the same places. Then her daughter, Sarah, now 25, began to experience headaches. Massage helped. Soon, Sarah’s friends sought Joan’s help. Following study in myotherapy and with a license to practice massage, Joan decided she’d see what she could do to help others. Someday she hopes to write a book, something like, ‘‘You Don’t Have to Have this Headache.’’ It could be a best-seller. Dave Rasdal’s column appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at (319) 398-8323 or

Dave Rasdal/The Gazette Joan Wollschlager operates The Headache Clinic at her rural Swisher home along with her Winchester Heights Massage Therapy Inc. business. She has opened another branch at Sisters Health Club Inc., at Czech Square in Cedar Rapids.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

"Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wing, these are a few of my favorite things"  Posted by Picasa

Natural Instincts

I heard a story from a very wise woman this morning and it has stuck with me. According to the story, a farmer found an abandon goose nest in the woods and rescued three unattended eggs. The farmer placed the eggs with his chickens and the birds grew right along side the rest of his barnyard menagerie. Months went by and the farmer had grown attached to his new little flock. The inevitable change of season’s brought a chill to the air and the sight of soaring geese brought excitement and nervousness to the fledglings. It became apparent to the farmer that his flock was preparing to soar in the natural course of things and yet he was unprepared to loose them. He devised a plan and began to overfeed his adolescent geese. Just like he’d hoped as he indulged them so they became content and in time complacent. Soon the young geese had settled in for the long winter and showed no interest in leaving their happy home.

The moral of the story is to really soar we have to be hungry. The story strikes me so because often when I am at my most hungry, or needy, or frustrated or lonely, I often feel abandoned by God and wonder why He has left me to suffer so? Now I see how many amazing things have been accomplished because I was hungry and driven to new heights by His gracious hand.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Fearless Inspiration

Its Thursday afternoon, which automatically means I am distracted, I was not meant to work from 2-4, I don’t care if its any time earlier or later but my brain flat lines at that point. To make matters worse it’s one of those gorgeous, pre-autumn days, the type that remind you of long lazy walks home after school with friends. To be greeted by a warm hands and a treat upon arrival home. You can imagine I am a little distracted but to make matters worse, I have the MOTHER of all headaches. I don’t think I can see straight. Personally, I think it’s my artistic subconscious rebelling against my life at the moment. It’s literally threatening to split me in half one molecule at a time. Lately I have felt like I was being torn between the me that is a grown-up and believes for some on reason that all grown-ups should look alike, act alike, and take on all the trappings of the office life. I think I always thought power was something I desired, now I think the real power is held by those that are true to themselves.

“I had five jobs in four years after college and after a near death experience I decided that if I was going to live, I would do it my way.” Rebecca Ryan

I love this quote b/c it could be from a hippie, or a surfer bum or a saint but it was said by a really creative executive. The woman behind these words had just finished giving a seminar on the power of understanding the Next Generation. She had captivated an audience of CEO’s, all high-powered individuals, that were clamoring to hear her perspective on their community. (Side note; I was very impressed with her b/c instead of thinking she had a great program and your community needed to follow it, she spent time knowing the community and getting them to discover who they were and where they could go. )

Honestly, I could really care less about what was discovered about the community. But I was fascinated by her spirit and energy. Recently shorn head, a tribute to a fellow cancer survivor, khaki’s, pink shirt and pink tennis shoes, this was truly a woman who had remained true to all the things that made her unique. Best of all she was enriching community after community. What an inspiration.

God never makes mistakes, but often we undercut what He is doing in our lives because its too crazy, too outlandish, no no I couldn’t possibly do that.

27Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
28Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!"
Mark 10:27-28


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