Monthly Archives: December 2007

Christmas Reflection…

We had a tremendously amazing Christmas. It seems like this was the first Christmas in a long time that we all were able to actually stay home, and not go anywhere. There was nothing major planned. No leaving town. No opening presents on Christmas Eve in order to bolt out of town on Christmas Day. No youth winter camp to prep for the day after Christmas. Don’t get me wrong. All those things are fine and dandy. It’s just that I love being home for Christmas. It’s got to be my favorite time of the year. I love everything about it. From the time of my birthday on December 8th until Christmas day. What can I say? I decorate, I bake, I shop, and listen to Bing Crosby Christmas music. Chris and I cooked a delicious Prime Rib dinner for Christmas Eve. We slept in on Christmas morning and took our time opening presents while enjoying baked French Toast. Our good friends, the Eazells, came over for dinner. Then even more good friends came over for dessert. It couldn’t have been more wonderful. Truly the Lord’s blessings abound to us.

Even Chris’ Appendix ordeal didn’t dampen my Christmas spirit. By the way, Chris is doing very well and recovering nicely. When you get a chance you should check out his personal blog. He just started writing about a month ago. Just click the PC’s personal blog link to the right.

That’s all for now folks, and blessings until next time

Mary Blaustone…looking ahead to 2008!

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Filed under Chris, Christmas, FRIENDS

Appendecto-whatee?

O.K., now that things have settled down a bit I thought it would be a good idea to use this post to fill everyone in on what has transpired in our lives over the last week.

It all started last Saturday afternoon when my husband, Chris, developed a little tummy ache in the middle of his stomach. He started complaining that he just wasn’t feeling well and thought that maybe he ate some bad food. I agreed with him, but have to say I kinda just blew it off as typical stomach pain or flu. By Saturday night the pain had increased. Of course I verbalized a bunch of “motherly” questions and statements.

“Do you want to throw up? Where’s the pain? Are you having any diarreah? Maybe you’re just really constipated.”

He took some Tylenol and went to bed, thinking all would be well after a good night sleep.

When we woke up the next morning, I remember thinking to myself that he would probably be feeling much better. On the contrary. The pain had moved to his lower right side and he was now running a slight fever. Needless to say, it would take standing at deaths door to get Chris to miss a church service. So, off we went to church. Thankfully we had a guest speaker that morning. Chris did lead worship though.

During the service Chris sat next to me. This normally would be a treat for me since usually he’s standing at the pulpit. But this time I ended up worrying about and focusing on my husband the entire time. He was pale, and every few minutes his face would wince and he would shift his weight and grab hold of his right side. I would look at him and say, “Are you OK?”…trying not to draw too much attention. He’d just look forward and nod his head that he was fine. I had no idea what was ahead.

Well, the service ended, so as soon as Chris could get a free moment he went on home. I ended up going out to lunch with our missionary friends who were visiting, and then went home as well. When I got there, Chris was curled up on the couch covered in a blanket. He was running a low fever, still in pain…and can I just say that he looked pretty bad. I asked him if he wanted to go to a doctor. Of course he said no. Our plans for that day after church were to go out and get the Christmas tree and decorate the house. Plus, it was the day after my birthday and the family had wanted to celebrate with dinner that night. It ended up that the boys and I went out and bought the tree. We got it set up in the living room, and that night, started decorating. Just a little added note. We had wanted to take a funny family Christmas picture, so Natalie had bought us all some really tacky Christmas sweaters. Natalie and Nathan put theirs on, and so did Chris. Even though he was feeling so sick, he still tried the best he could to be a part of our family festivities.

The night wore on with no improvement in my husbands condition. I made him promise me that if he still felt bad in the morning he would go to the doctor. Ya see, one thing I haven’t mentioned yet was that Chris and I had plans to have a get-a-way together. We had plane reservations to fly out to Arizona early Tuesday morning to go visit his parents. After a couple days we would drive back home (his mom and dad were giving us their old car). Both of us were so looking forward to this. But I kept thinking to myself that there was no way I would get on a plane with my husband sick like this.

Once again, Chris awoke feeling pretty much the same. His fever was down a bit though. We made a doctors appointment for first thing that morning. He talked to the doctor on the phone, describing his symptoms to him the best that he could. Then the doctor said it.

“What you’re describing to me sounds like Appendicitis.”

So, we went to the appointment. Of course he sent us to the emergency room. After sitting in the waiting room for about an hour and a half, they got Chris in a bed and ran some tests. Whenever they would do the typical “Appendix” test where they push and release on the right side, Chris would wince and say ouch. They were baffled when the blood tests showed his white count only a little elevated. Though the emergency room doc didn’t think it was an Appendicitis, he decided to order a CAT scan just to be sure.

The results of the scan came in around 6:00 P.M.. It was a definite Appendicitis. It needed to come out right away. Well, right away meant 9:00 P.M.

So, after one and a half days of pain and 10 hours in an emergency room…Chris’ Appendix was removed. After the surgery the surgeon informed me that everything went very well. The only problem was that the Appendix was open a bit at the top and some infection was coming out. Not to worry though, he said. Chris was in good health and would probably be fine in about 2 days.

It ended up that Chris needed 4 days in the hospital. He ran a high fever off and on due to that infection. Not to mention that some other normal body functions shut down a bit. That kind of stuff needs to be running properly before you get sent home from the hospital. It was a little scary for me though. The surgeon let us know that his Appendix were, as he put it, “Very sick”. Had we waited another day, they would have burst, and things would have been much worse. I praise God we took the steps we did, when we did.

Can I just tell you something about my husband. For as long as I’ve known this guy, there is nothing that will stop him from ministering to others. And I mean nothing. The entire time he was in the hospital he was ministering. He would go on his little walks around the third floor ward (which just so happened to be the cancer ward), dressed in his scrub pants and open back hospital gown, and poke his head in the patients rooms to say hello. He would ask there names and why they were there. He would lay hands on them and pray, just like a pastoral hospital visit. He even had nurses share their problems with him. He was constantly cracking jokes with the staff. They absolutely loved him. This is simply the man I married. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for him. I love him so much.

Chris is continuing to recover here at home. We are so thankful for everyones love and prayers. It’s very good to be surrounded by the body of Christ during times like these.

Here’s a picture of the Sunday night tree decorating. That’s an oversized stocking on Nates head. Brace yourself. Chris doesn’t look so good. It’s pretty funny though to see him in the crazy Christmas sweatshirt. Good times.

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Filed under Appendix, Christmas, ministry

Who Stole Baby Jesus?

This story just in. Baby Jesus was stolen right out of the manger. It happened right in front of Joseph and Mary, and the entire city of Healdsburg for that matter.

This is a true story folks. In fact, it happened at the church right across the street from our little chapel in Healdsburg. You can read all about it in the Press Democrat.

Here’s the skinny. The doll that was being used for Baby Jesus in the manger was removed. In it’s place was left…now are you ready for this? In it’s place was a yellow, stuffed duck with a red nose and blinking light. There was also a second “devil duck” painted black with horns.

Why on earth would anyone want to steal Baby Jesus out of the manger, and replace Him with two demonic ducks? Yes, I know. This was probably just another hoodlum prank. No big deal, right? But still, the thought of “stealing Jesus” really got me thinking.

A couple days before I read this story I experienced another incident.

I needed to run to Walmart to pick up a few things. Now, whenever I go to Walmart,I try to psych myself out a bit, knowing that it will probably be a crazy experience. Crowded parking lot. Wobbly wheeled cart that sticks and squeals. Screaming kids and angry moms. Long lines, and ultimately buying so much more than what I came in for.

On this particular outing, I pulled into the parking lot and much to my surprise, found a place to park rather quickly. I jump out of my car, running over my list in my mind and thinking to myself, “The faster I get in, the faster I get out.”

As I’m approaching the entrance I notice a man, probably in his late 30’s, leaning against the brick wall, smoking a cigarette. Not an uncommon sight in front of any American Walmart. Just then, a young mom walks past him. Her cart is laden with Christmas gifts…A rather large box slid in on the lower part of the cart. A bicycle hanging on the front. Odds and ends in the basket, and a crying toddler in the child seat. Just as she passed the “smoking man”, the large box slides forward and crashes to the ground with a thud. The toddler cries even louder and the mom, speaking loud enough for anyone standing close by to hear says,(expletives removed)

“Why does this have to be so stinkin hard?!?”

Now, here’s the crazy part. People just keep walking by. No one stops to help her. And the smoking man? Well, he just stands there watching her, puffing away, with a look on his face that says, “She’s crazy”.

I too walk on by, completely angered by what I’ve just seen. I’m thinking, “Chivalry really is dead!”

That man could have dropped the cig, run over to the poor mom, and at least picked up the box for her. Maybe even said a few kind words as well like, “Are you alright, mam? Here, let me help you…or, Merry Christmas”

But, nothing.

I hurried past the Salvation Army bell ringer, and in through the front entrance. I got in fast, and out even faster.

Both these incidences troubled me considerably. I mean, what is going on here? Where is Jesus? Stolen out of the manger, devil ducks in His place. He certainly wasn’t at Walmart that day. I even heard that the phrase “Merry Christmas” isn’t allowed to be used in some stores by employees anymore. Who wants to go Christmas shopping with this kind of stuff going on? Isn’t it just much easier to stay home? We can shop online in the comfort of a chair. No long lines, no screaming, no…

Then it hit me. I mean the conviction of the Holy Spirit that is. Loud and clear it came to me, as though the Lord were saying,

“What are you doing? I wasn’t really stolen out of the manger. That was a doll. I’m real, and still very much alive. I am ever powerful, and ever present, and living inside of you, Mary. So take Me with you wherever you go. Even to Walmart.”

Oh dear. It’s true. Even I walked right by that helpless mom. I didn’t run to go help her, or to say, “Are you alright, mam?” I just rushed on by, glaring at the smoking man. No smiles or Merry Christmas’s from me.

Don’t you just love how the Lord is so faithful to take everyday experiences and use them to mold us into His image?

I have to say that since then, I have done much better with my shopping outings. I think I’m more aware of my surroundings, especially the people. I look at faces and try to catch eyes. I smile and try to allow Jesus to shine through. I want to wish everyone a great big Merry Christmas, as though to leave a lingering fragrance of Who this season is truly about.

I actually want to go shopping now.

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