Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Ban on CoBan

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8 KJV)

The 3M website states, "For more than 40 years, 3M™ Coban™ Brand Self-Adherent Wraps have been making life easier for patients and health care providers for a variety of applications, from securing dressings to immobilizing sprains."

And I love my lime green Coban.

Each time I get poked or cut, I tend to be a bleeder. Lot's of meds make my blood thin. I like the security of Coban so I know I won't walk down the hallways with red blood dripping down my sleeve.

Last week, I had my regular, monthly, sometimes weekly, labs done and when I stretched out my arm to be wrapped with Coban, the tech told me they didn't have any.

"No Coban? Is the budget that bad? I'll start bringing my own."

"No," she answered glumly, "We're not allowed to have Coban anymore. A tech made it too tight on a patient's arm and it cut off their circulation." I watched her place two Band aids on my arm and press on them firmly.

Lawsuits, threats, liable, defamation, blaming, cheating, lying--what else do we contend with? Why do so many people find it rewarding to do the he-said-she-said-my-uncle's-a-lawyer game? What happened to caring for humanity?

And worse, why do so many Christians engage in the same practices as the rest of the world?

I've been dealing with the very issues lately. And as small as the Coban ban is, it reminds me of the state we have placed ourselves in. When Christians join in on the blame game--we all lose.

So ban the Coban if you must, but ban the blame game too.

Visit me at

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Chair

You gave them your good Spirit to teach them to live wisely. You never stinted with your manna, gave them plenty of water to drink. You supported them forty years in that desert; they had everything they needed; Their clothes didn't wear out and their feet never blistered. (Nehemiah 9:20-21 MSG)

It was a while back. In the summer. My favorite thrift shop called out to me as I turned the corner, heading for the gas station.

I had to see what was new.

After lingering, inspecting and touching, I asked the owner if they had any folding chairs. My office was crowded, but I had a work table and needed one more chair to place in front of it for packaging up mail, cutting things, and writing notes.

I wanted just one. Had to be sturdy. Had to be beige.

"We have one set in the back, but don't split them up. Most people come in for a set of at least four." The middle aged man popped his baseball cap off and rubbed his eyes with a calloused hand. Not the look of a hand that simply stocks a thrift shop with donated items.

We chatted a bit and casual conversation led to my heart transplant miracle story--as usual. But he looked at me with searching thoughts and wanted to know more. His story and his current struggle began when he developed diabetes and could no longer work in construction. Money flowed easy when he had jobs. Now he and his wife ran this thrift shop as their sole income. They want to make a living, but help the community in doing so.

We discussed health issues and the multitude of problems that follow from insurance to healthy eating being expensive. I saw his weariness.

"You know, God always takes care of whatever it is I think I need. And often, he does a better job. So remember that when all this comes flying at you." I wanted to encourage him, but not dismiss his worries. He has children to feed and bills to pay.

The next day, I got a call from the owner. He found a single chair for me. While at the warehouse early in the morning, searching for fodder to sell, he spotted a lone chair in the back as he was leaving. It sat by the employee entrance, the beige color of it's metal frame contrasted against the dark warehouse walls.

"Is that chair for sale?" he asked the manager.

"What chair?" The manager turned to look. "Now where did that come from? I leave the door open for a minute and people start dropping off their junk." He walked to the back.

The thrift store owner offered $5.00 to rid the manager of the chair.

When I walked in the thrift shop that afternoon, the chair sat by the front counter waiting for me. It was beige, sturdy, had a soft cushioned seat, and not a blemish. And he only wanted the $5.00 for it.

"I knew God would provide a chair for me. He can provide much or little. He can help you and your family too." We exchanged satisfied smiles.

I visit that thrift shop often. I love the owners--hard working, sincere, honest and caring.

And I love my chair.

Thrifty Living
326 S Pines Rd
Spokane Valley, WA 99206
(509) 315-5617

Visit me at

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Scan Me!

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36 NIV)
So I went through security twice for this past two week book tour. Once when I left Spokane, WA, (home) and the other when I left Charlotte, NC to travel back home. I did something I'd never thought I would--went through the full body scanner. And I was thrilled to do so!

"Oh, I'm so excited. I get to go through the full body scan. Oh, which line has it?" I jumped back and forth after properly loading my shoes, jacket, laptop, and backpack into gray bins. The TSA employee stared at me with a perturbed look. I think she expected trouble, but wasn't sure what kind.

I was instructed to raise my arms and stand within the designated area between two rounded walls, ready to scan my outside and innards. The whirring began and I smiled big. Like I was having a family portrait done. How embarrassing. But I wasn't embarassed.

For years I traveled with all kinds of medical equipment in my carry on or hooked up to me. The full body scan was a no-no and could kill me. Once, after getting a bit too close to one in an airport security entrance, I suffered shock at home due to a malfunction with my machinery. I came too close to dying. From then on, I went as far as to enter into yelling matches and be escorted to a security area for interrogation, all to avoid those killer machines. TSA security, airline pilots and stewards, and security, all exhibited ignorant and contempulous attitudes when I tried to explain their security measures could kill me.

I'm just a special case, was my secret reply to their disdain.

Since my pancreas transplant on May 12, 2012, I am free. No more medical equipment hooked up to my body. No more carry on filled with machinery. I can go through a full body scan safely. The only thing I carry is a bag with containers for the 38 pills I take each day and surgical masks to protect me from germs. I travel with a backback only. It makes me feel young and healthy; alive and blessed.

What machinery of stress, sadness, pain, sorrow, or tragedy is holding you down? You don't need a transplant to be free. You need simply to believe Jesus is your liberator.

Go ahead, walk through the scanner! You are free indeed!