Monday, August 12, 2013

living intentionally

I'm starting a new blog. It's not working yet....I'm out of it on the techie side right now! But it will be up and running soon. The background I found at shabbyblog is too cute to not wrestle with getting on this site! I think you'll eventually find me at But maybe not. I'll let you know, just in case I have a word or two that will lift you up! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013


It's easy to live in a mode of questing for "EDEN"....perfection as God originally designed. That place with luscious trees, tame yet wild animals, magnificent purpose, peace, and the people I love the most.

It's easy to live with a continual want for more than we have. More of life! More of the people we love, more of the beauty of this world, more meaningful work and purpose! As a Life Coach, I've helped women reach for that more, in a good way. To see where you are and then where you want to go is a perfect set up for goals and aspirations! And a perfect launch into that Land in Between.

God tells us to be content with what we have. He's talking in that Scripture verse about money, contrasting loving Him or $. But still He says to be content....with what we have. Not contentment with our bad attitudes, our harmful habits, our useless talk. But contentment with what we have!

The beauty of this to me is that I have a never ending list of the gifts I've been given! Not stuff, although a little of that is nice. But the beauty around me, the people whom I love and who love me, the sweet companionship of our dogs, the days I can hike and have energy, the community of people in Bend whom we're getting to know and love, the small ways I am getting to serve again at our church, and did I say the beauty around me? I'm looking at a sliver of moon to the right of the Sisters Mountains right now at dusk. It's amazing here, rain or shine. But shine is the best! And the gardening in Central OR classes I've just taken, the yummy new vegan recipes I'm finding (I've had a hard time finding "yum"), the sweet text messages and calls from special friends, the upcoming visits with our grandbabies and kids, a full summer full of friends and family visiting. The list is truly unending.

Paul told us to fix our eyes on Jesus, and to think on what is good, right, lovely, of good repute, of excellence.....what we have! The good stuff, that is.

Everyone has something difficult. Everyone. Hurt or struggle or suffering or...something that doesn't fall into that good category above. Yet we can choose to focus on all that IS good and great and wonderful in our lives. It always trumps the bad, every time, even if we have to focus super hard. 

I've told a few friends that I'm both fighting this rheumatoid autoimmune disease, and at the same time settling into life with it. I'm choosing to find contentment when Eden is far away. It's helpful to know I'm not alone, as 5% of the population has it to one degree or another (3/4 women, and not the osteoarthritis, i.e. old-age arthritis. That's not progressive, although still painful for those who deal with it. See for more information if desired). My new GP yesterday told me a big positive is that 15 years ago, I would have had a prognosis of a wheel chair in 5 years. Today, there's more hope, even though this tough infusion med I've been on since November isn't bumping me much above 50% of myself yet. But 50% is way better than the 5% I was at a year ago! Another gratitude!

So the Land in Between where I was and where I want to right here! And it's life....the place to thrive by God's grace and strength and mercies! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

IT'S TIME.....

It's time for a new blog theme! This health issue is so worn out! It's boring and old news focusing on it. So I'm pondering before the Lord what He wants me to spend time writing (and a few of you time reading). I'll get back to you soon.....

Christmas family pictures are on Mike's computer. We had a great time and the babies are so so adorable. I was swept away with Grace's sweet "Oma" callings from her playnpack in my office next to our bedroom. So precious, even at that one 4:30 am calling! We had such a good time.
Until I get the newer ones, this precious daddy-daughter picture from earlier in December will have to suffice for the Burge family! Grace turned 2 last week and Hannah is heading towards 8 months old already. So fun!
Michelle caught this picture after Marisa "opened" her tickle-me-elmo gift from her east coast grandpa! She's a bouncing, scooting cutie-pie for sure!

I continue to feel pretty good. I'm so so grateful! I have my 3rd infusion this Friday and am anticipating good results. My dr. is glad and hoped I'd be where I am at this point, with another 6 months of tweaking the medicine amount and frequency to get me to the best I can be....hopefully remission? I can hope. He says I've got "the real deal," with how aggressive the disease is. I'm grateful to be able to walk and hike again, to use my hands and shoulders and body much more normally, even if I have to have wrist braces on here and there to prevent zinging myself. It's a joy to have people visit and be present (come! Just call!). I'm getting better at this vegan cooking style and it's getting yummier and tastier. I'm on a learning curve and want to take some classes, which I can't find around Bend right now.

So, our Savior continues to be good, whether my prayers are answered my way or not (they weren't), whether things are turning out as I had hoped (not exactly) and whether the timing is mine with this disease (nope again). I love how Greg and I have both changed and grown and learned so much while living with suffering - it's a good yet wicked teacher. So many are or have or will be under it's tutelage. I'm thankful for the hope of an eternity of joy and peace, thankful that Jesus never left me alone, and look forward to God revealing His path for me of service to the suffering and struggling here on this earth.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Greg and I were walking out of the Drs. clinic (where my social network seems to be these days!). For the second time in a week, a woman in her late 30's stopped us and told us what a CUTE COUPLE we were! For the second time, we were stunned. I felt partly appreciative for the work the Lord's done in our lives this past year in creating a very real sweetness between us. And partly DEEPLY OFFENDED to receive these "compliments" while we're in our 50's!!! Give us another 15-20 years and we'll happily receive those words!

So, I broke down. Because of impatience and frugality, I bought a box. Without my glasses, I didn't see the smaller print saying the color was a mahogany brown. So Greg is married to a ever-so-slightly redhead for the next couple of months! This color makes me look like I'm Marisa's Oma for sure!! I tried the "cute and grey" look for over a year. And all it turned out to be was grey and old. How come guys can look distinguished and women typically look....old?

Our kids come next Friday for a week. We can't wait!!!! And on that note, the remicade seems to be working! I am cautiously optimistic! My next infusion is Friday morning. I had 6 out of 7 good days after the first infusion, which was just amazing. Walking/short hikes without much of a notice, more hand/wrist mobility, greater shoulder flexibility, way more energy! I am so grateful.

The Lord's answers come out of His ways being higher than ours. I am thankful He knows what's best and I trust Him!

These are whom I'm waiting to see....

Grace is going to sleep in my office next to our bedroom. Can't wait for early morning snuggles and books!

I think Marisa will love being with her cousins! She loves her weekly library music time and the other children there. I'm excited to watch them all together...well, as "together" as two 6 month olds and a nearly 2 year old may be! Of course, her mama and daddy are coming too! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I couldn't get enough of Grace! We had so many snuggles and read books and sang songs and danced the Hoki-Poki and went for some walks and played drag-the-baby-on-the blanket (either Grace or her baby)!
Grace loves to have "coffee" in the mornings with her mommy and read their Bibles! 

We're pretty sure Hannah is teething.....and we know she is more adorable than you can imagine! But keep tender fingers away from that jaw-bite! Yeow!!!

We went to the Washington Park Zoo, a favorite of the kiddos and parents and gparents! At the end of a fun and long walk, we got in a little photo shoot before Grace fell asleep!

 I was thankful for the big dose prednisone while in DC, because the hand holding and picking up and snuggling were going to happen no matter what, since our hearts are held captive! We visited with Marisa on both sides of this trip, but I was toast and we missed photo opportunities there. I'm starting the RA infusion Rhemicade on Nov 30, and am back on prednisone for a few months, since my Dr. kindly wants me to have a life of sorts. We're thankful for this man and are hopeful that this drug may be God's solution to return to function. I'm still going to have my first ever vegan Thanksgiving, and can't wait! The stuffed squash and mushroom dishes and pumpkin puddings and sweet potato dishes sounds amazing to me!

What a life we have to be grateful for! Our kids, our grandkids, our siblings and family, our friends, a roof over our heads and wheels under our feet, beauty for our eyes to see and ears to hear, our adorable dogs, our fantastic church, my superman-husband, the endurance the Lord continues to equip Greg and me with, and especially Jesus, my Strength and my Joy!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


So just when I get inspired by James to be joyful because God is building endurance in me and I'm on my way to becoming perfect (like..."enough" type of perfect) and complete, lacking in has become so hard!

"It." This RA. What the sorry-for-me person calls a life destroyer and relationship challenger and a service stopper. The hardest thing I have ever done in my life, since it's like an Ever-ready battery.

I am pondering what recently occurred to me, that God has seen fit that my ability to go (my feet), to do (my hands), and to be motivated (my energy) be set aside for a long while or taken away. I haven't figured out what He wants me to do with that.

Yet, I hear the whisper to be still and know that He is God. To not be anxious because it doesn't change a thing, and I miss out on His peace that passes understanding, when I am. I hear Him call me to come aside for a while and rest in Him, that He knows I am weary (you too?) and by myself, this load is too much. Jesus calls me to once again take His yoke upon Him, because He wants to teach me a thing or a million. That His yoke is light, and He wants me to learn from Him to be humble and contrite in heart. That's where I will find rest for my soul.

The Simponi is barely working. So my RA dr. will switch me to a more powerful and adjustable infusion drug the end of November. Maybe it will be God's miracle for me and I can hold my grandbabies in December and hike with my husband and go out and do fun things with my family and make plans....oh joy at the thought! But be still my soul and know who is God.

I again choose to trust Him for what I don't know and what I can't control. It is good, because He is good.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


"Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have it's perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-3

There are several parts of this verse that thrill my heart! I would LOVE to be lacking in nothing. To genuinely have no lack in my person or character or body or heart. 

And to be the Lord had finished His work and said He was done. I love to complete little projects or a goal or a plan. Crossing things off a list delights my silly heart. I'd like the Lord to be able to cross me off His "to-do" list because I was complete. Sigh.....I suspect it won't be happening this side of glory! 

And to be perfect - not perfect as in perfectionism. I've long given that up due to its lie. But perfect in it's definition: "Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it  is possible to be." 

I'd like to cross myself off my to-do list. 

Fat chance. It takes more than plans and goals and effort and focus to become perfect, complete, lacking in nothing. 

According to this verse, very good "muscle builders" are our various trials. The testing of our faith.  The endurance that results when we let it have it's perfect result. The attitude choice when the trials show up or hit us.

My whiney self moaned to myself more than once, and to the Lord, "I don't want any more trials and faith testing and endurance building. Aren't you done yet? Aren't I good enough?" 

My Dr. asked me today if any spiritual insights have come to me this past year during this illness. Good question. (He's obviously not a typical doc!) So I reflected on the de-priding work (my word!) the Spirit has done, showing me my self sufficiency, arrogance in assuming I know what we're in Bend for, making plans without consulting the heart of my Savior. I'm so grateful for the revision of my life pace to allow much space for rest, reflection, conversations, time to notice and time to be... The humbling that has come with inability to be and act as the me I'm used to being is useful. (But like a hot iron, I use it when I absolutely have to, and no more often. It's not my favorite tool.)

I saw that the months of anger and irritation and frustration, in spite of not being able to alter the house building process a bit last year, was a type of war against myself, not a lot unlike this auto-immune disease where my body is attacking it's own joints. Insights. There they are. I have no answers. The doctors have no answers as of yet either. 

Tomorrow, Dr. Greg will give me my 3rd Simponi injection. My Rheumatologist and we suspect this drug isn't working very well for me. I'm grateful for any lift it throws my way, but it's not showing itself consistent or relieving my pain & disability for very long.  Thus, I am aiming for the mindset of joy that my trials provide opportunity for, as I know in my mind and heart that this testing of my faith (learning to trust Him more and more) is producing endurance. I choose this moment, again, to rest in this process of endurance building, that God may complete His work in me of completion, perfection, and filling my great lack with Himself. 

May I be pliable Lord!