Sunday, March 16, 2014

The little miracles

The little miracles are the ones that build our faith.  The daily surprises, the "thank You, Lord" and the "I barely knew I needed it" kind of little miracles.  

I'm getting ready for a "Real Comfort" retreat beginning next Friday.  I've led this retreat a few times now, and yesterday I stumbled into thinking through a new closing session.  A patient and I are reading the gospel of John together.  So, when I read John 2, I realized the perfect ending for the retreat.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sleepless? Part 1

My patient said, "Doc, I'm having trouble sleeping."

I almost always begin with saying, "First of all, it is true, insomnia may improve if we adopt sleep hygiene strategies."  i.e., practices that help the mind be ready for sleep such as:

  • Do the same things every night before bed. Develop a routine. 
  • Don't exercise too late in the day.
  • Keep the computer off in the late evening.  
  • Less stimulation aids relaxation. 
  • Keep the room completely dark. Things like that.
  • For more see this link:
I've found that people with insomnia are quite often aware of these ideas.  Maybe they are up at night surfing the web, looking for help.  
So I'm not surprised when my patients seem unimpressed by sleep hygiene.  I get the feeling that folks want more than tips and techniques when they feel exasperated, and discouraged about the fact that everybody else in the world is probably sleeping fine while they are lying there awake.  It's a lonely feeling. 

And patients don't always want medications for sleep because they feel they will be taking them forever once they start.  The conversation often goes toward how to revoke the power of worrying.  What if people could tap into some sort of Peace, some sort of being Okay, maybe even because of their faith that God is near.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Change is Like Playing Hopscotch

In the clinic, I do so much preventive care, meaning trying to help people make effective life style change to regain their health.  Understandably, I find myself saying the same sort of things over and over again.  And you know, different patients respond differently.  How about that?!

This week, I found several appropriate spots to say the following, "Lifestyle change is sort of like playing hop-scotch."  And to puzzled looks I'd clarify with, "You throw your chalk into the next square, and take a leap.  You get your balance again, pick up the chalk, and write on that square all you have learned.  Then when you are ready, you take another leap. Eventually you get to the end."

One gal said, "Yeah, and you don't ever get to go back to Start!"

Another said, "Balance is a nice word, but I don't ever really feel that.  No, not so much."

One fellow said, "So what's at the end?  The End?"

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Worrier and the Warrior

One morning in the clinic, I saw a 61 year old patient who'd gained 25 pounds this last year, and told of the stress in her life.  Very tough things like lately widowed, living alone, and working hard to make it.  But the mild insomnia which she'd always had was much, much worse, and now she gets up and goes to the refrigerator, or the pantry.  Just a little snack.  Every night for 365 days.  Twice she said, "I find myself thinking, 'It's 3 AM, and there is nobody having this problem but me.  Nobody is awake but me.' " 

That afternoon one of my 93 year old patients came in saying, "I knew my blood pressure'd be up because I did not sleep a wink last night.  Not one wink! This has never happened to me before!  What do I do, Doctor?"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lord's Prayer Breathing

Lord's Prayer breathing ... for the body and the soul

First How:

This is easy, and below I explain why and when to use this invaluable expression of our knowing that we need more of God.

As you detect tension, stress, pressure or any other fear-laden symptom, pause.

Take only a quick inhale and on the exhale begin speaking the Lord's prayer:
Take three inhales for the entire prayer on the words,

"Our Father ..."
"Give us..."
and "Lead us..."

Prolonging the exhale as you speak the endings to each of the sections is the exact reason that this helps us physically.

Repeating four Lord's prayers this way takes one minute.  That gives us 12 breaths a minute.  Perhaps the optimal normal rate for adults.

Because I've practiced this for many years, I find I am getting just a bit closer to praying without ceasing.  And you can too.

And now Why do this  : (taken from an earlier post on this blog)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Finding Your Way

In 2007, God led me to offer Wellness retreats.  In 2009 He moved me to offer groups to follow up retreats, and add members from my clinic practice as well.  Next came "Real Comfort" retreats. In one group a gal said, "I cannot find my way out of this problem.  It's like I live with a monster inside me."  So we named the groups "Way Groups."  We walk together, and we all are finding our way.

There are usually two things that have to be addressed immediately, and a third that takes time.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013


My favorite devotional bible is the Oswald Chambers One Year Bible. I should call it my Four Year bible, though, as I read one page a day.  In it there's both an old testament and a new testament reading with a psalm and proverb in between. 

For me, as I look at Genesis abruptly juxtaposed beside Matthew, I grieve all that time before Christ, the countless lives lived before God's hopeful Answer comes to mankind's main problem.
And then there's the countless lives since the fact God's offer of grace in the Cross.