Sunday, November 19, 2006

Guilt...A New Kind of Blanket

Funny how the post preceding this one is so pleasant to true, yet not my current state. No, within minutes of acknowledging my surge of gratitude I am plummeted into a sea of a different emotion. Guilt. Chad, Leif and I are going on a wham-bam-thank-you-maam kind of trip to the US. I have dreaded planning it because I knew that we would not be able to see all the people that we want to see...We've had to prioritize and that always means unhappiness. So, now our trip is planned and of course people are unhappy with the results. Some are more merciful than others in their unhappiness. I have been accused of a gammit of things...
My guilt is keeping me up at nite and it's spreading to everything. I can't eat anything without feeling desperately guilty about my bad choice in food, too much sugar, not enough veggies. I don't exercise enough and spend too much money. I don't spend as much quality time as I should with Leif...or do I spend too much time with him?
I feel squashed by it. I know that it's not good or even justified, but how do you get out of it? I want to run and hide until May...
I want to get on hands and knees and beg for mercy and understanding. I know that people want to meet Leif and I wish that we could see everyone and spend a lot of time with everyone...but it just can't be. It's funny that once you have a kid everyone wants a piece, they don't give a flip about you when you're just you, but once you get a little one...Well, that's when you're important...well actually, the little one is important... And why do we have to go to everyone? Why can't they come to us? We sacrificed a lot to get there...Why can't people see and understand that?
So...MERCY! Please!

on the flip, i'm very excited to see the people we do get to see.

I wonder if Abraham felt this way? He as called to a foreign land and went...I wonder if he yearned for home, and they yearned for him with frustration that he left...

In my defence, Chad and I were called to Australia. It has been confirmed again and again that this is where we should be. I miss my family...can't wait to see em...just hate that we're so far. I'm not sorry that we left.

Blah blah blah.

So sorry to anyone reading this.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I am changed. I am not what I once was, and I am so grateful. I watched someone die and as I had my hand on her shattered shoulder God was tearing down my walls. I feel I have become capable of so much more gratitude than ever before. I have watched a friend grieve the loss of her little boy...never getting to hold him...and in my heart another wall went down.

I feel so full of thankfulness sometimes that I find it overwhelming. The old me was bitter and jaded...a whinge and a full of self pity that I could see no one outside. But I think that God is changing me...and I'm so grateful.

Daily I feel overcome that I have been allowed to keep my little boy. I don't know why some can and why some can't...but I did. Daily I thank God with tears in my eyes that I can keep him, even if it is just for know. I find myself thankful for so much more though. I am thankful to have a husband like Chad, and a friend like Rebecca. I am thankful to have parents like mine, and in-laws like I have. I am thankful for my church, and that building. I am thankful that I can walk, and that I can think clearly (sort of). We get sun, and sometimes rain...there are beautiful little birds that fly around in the park next door...

To whom much is given much is required. I mark myself as one to whom much is given. Lord help me to do what You require.

May it not take a death for you to reach a state of gratitude.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dancing With The Drunk Man

I went to my brother-in-law's concert at a pub on Thursday nite. His band was playing a 9 pm. There in the front was a man who had obviously been hitting the boos quite hard long before the concert began. At first I found him funny...but then some guys from the crowd started playing with him. They were dancing around with him and kinda teasing him the way one would with a dog or pet monkey. My heart broke for him. He was the side show entertainment, the dancing drunken fool for an entire room and younger watchers. It made me wonder what this man was running from. What would have driven him to the place where he needed to be totally drunk on a Thursday nite?
As a side note: Todd's band "Rogue" is quite good and worth a listen for anyone interested.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


War makes whiners of some and heros of others. My only hope is that when this is all over, we will recognize who is who.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Great News!

Now, at nearly four months since my beautiful little son was born I can zip and button jeans that I used to wear in my pre-pregnant days! (The fact that they are almost too tight to breath is only a side note...they button!) Whooeee!!!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Proof of a Woman

I think that childbirth is the ultimate proof of a woman. Is she strong enough to bear the pain? Or will she break down under it and demand relief? Will she be able to stand up? How well a woman does in childbirth is a test of her mettle...Or so it seems. Her character is demonstrated, her self will, her physical strength. All are tested to the fullest. Maybe that's why a Caesarean is such a disappointment. You never get to be tested in such a fearful way. I, like many women, have wondered how I would have held up. Would I have swore a blue streak, would I have screamed, would I have demanded pain relief? I may never know how I would do...I may never have the chance to prove myself in that way...However I feel like I have let everyone down.
Before I knew I was going to have a C-section I had told someone that I was willing to have an epidural and they raised their eyebrows at if to say "Oh really, so your one of THOSE kind of women." But now, I have not only chosen to have an epidural, but I also chose to have a C-section. Nevermind the surrounding circumstances, I chose to have a C-section...and now I wonder...Am I really one of those kind of women?
(Secret confessions: I actually looked forward to my C-section...I knew the date I was going to meet my little person.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Home again Home again

We are home. Leif's surgery was Wednesday August 23. It was about 2-3 hours long. He was pale and swollen when we first saw him and remained that way for a few days. That was terrible. He also cried a whole new cry, and looked stoned out of his head. He was not himself. He was on a morphine drip...My little 3 month old son was on a morphine drip. Heartache. By day three, his morphine dose had been almost entirely reduced and Leif could focus again. He was still in heaps of you would be if your intestines were pulled out your ass. But his pain has been decreasing daily. The first spontaneous poo of his life was in the early hours of the 25th. It hurt him and was just bloody...but it's become more normal since then. We took a picture of a full nappy. He even does little farts! It's very exciting! We are home now. God has shown Himself mighty in this adventure. We prayed that Leif would not have a colostomy replaced. It was closed! We prayed that his IV would last the whole time. It did! We prayed that he wouldn't get any infections. He didn't. We prayed that he would have a quick recovery. He is!
Thank you to all who prayed...We were carried as on the wings of eagles in this time of great fear.

Monday, August 21, 2006

it's a small world

" Then the Lord answered {Erika} out of the storm. He said: 'Who is this who darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself up like a man; I will question you, and you will answer me...' " Job 38:1-3.

There's a comfort in knowing that I am so small and and that God is so big. When I begin to complain to Him about my woes, He reminds me who He is.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I cannot keep you

Dear Leif,
Soon you will have major surgery and they will take part of your bowel. They feel confident that things will go well...I wish I could feel that way too. I dread the idea of them taking my precious little man as I can only watch you be wheeled away. I wish I could protect you from all that they must do. I wish I could protect you from the days or weeks of discomfort. I wish I could hold your little hand as they slice you up...but Leif, I can't. I am powerless against what must happen. I must wait for years for them to come out of the surgical theatre and tell me that everything went...I must watch as you are given pain medication and no food for days. I cannot keep you from all that will happen. I will simply stand by helplessly in your pain. I cannot keep you from all this...Forgive me.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Post-natal Perfection

I was thinking about Post-Natal Depression today. I am a major candidate for it and sometimes feel stirrings of said depression. It's interesting to me the rise of depression in our society. Compared to days gone by, we have everything a person could ask for. We are fed and clothed, and have amazing conveniences. We live longer and are taller and stronger. Yet we are more depressed than ever before. I think it is because we are in a state to desire everything. We will tolerate no mistakes to be made. There are people who have made a living off of other people's mistakes, you'll find them constantly in court battling for cash because they slipped on a recently mopped stair...Gynecologists are being forced out of business because they are constantly getting sued for mistakes. For hundreds of years mothers and babies have died in the birthing process. Modern medicine has made it seem a safe process...but, thanks to Eve, it is not safe. In days gone by mothers were grateful to have a baby, the longer it lived the more amazing. We expect our babies to be born without pain, in perfect condition. We expect a special oil to take away our stretch marks and special pills to take away our fat.
I myself have fallen pray to this need for perfection. I get depressed at the size my belly still is and that I can't breast feed. I get depressed about my son's disease that made his first 2 weeks very near every mother's worst nightmare. (I say very near because, as with all mothers the worst nightmare is to watch your child slowly fade unto death.) I feel like our time with him in the beginning was stolen. I had to wash my hands before I could even enter the room he was in. He was cut out of me, and I was pretty much stoned out of my head for the only time we had "before" the disease. I expected a regular delivery with a healthy baby who would come home with me, and people would be so happy that "It's a BOY!" and I would feed him from myself. I suppose in many ways I needed it to be perfect.
So, I guess I don't really wonder too much why so many women are stricken down with such a paralyzing mental plague. We demand perfection and will take no less.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

the many faces of Jesus

I have been thinking a lot lately about what a faith with works looks like. I have contemplated the real meaning of God's love. I know that His love is almost foolish. It's the kind of love that gives even when He knows we are only using Him. His is the kind of love that does drastic things that we only mock or demean,"Oh! How sweet!" He asks us to love others in this same way. To be fools in love, and to love everyone.
I have been stricken with a new found fear that I have seen him naked on the side of the road, and said,"Go and be warmed" yet did nothing. I know I have seen him hungry and hurting and did nothing. In my piousness I could not give him a dollar when He asked. His many faces haunt me now as there is no going back.
While I was a freshman at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago I gave money to every homeless person who asked. Then as time went on I became more and more jaded, and felt that the most loving thing to do is to NOT give them money since I knew ALL of them were alcoholics and drug addicts...I lived in Chicago for a total of seven years. I walked past hundreds of people who asked me for money...I ignored them, justifying myself as I went that I really was loving them best by walking past...
Now their faces gnaw at my flesh. I am pained by my Pharisaical Christianity. I can not go back and fix it...I walked past Jesus hurting and desperate and NEVER helped. My self-righteousness helped no one, and hurt many, mostly my lover, Jesus. I now know that it is better to be thought a fool and love, than to be callous and self-protected. I pray that I could again be given the chance to love foolishly. I hope that this time, with God's help I will not fail.
I know that I will one day see the faces of all those I walked past. It will hurt and I will be deeply ashamed. I will see Jesus' eyes as his tears well up as He says,"Where were you when I was hungry?..." I know that His Grace will cover me...I hope His Grace will let me try again...

Monday, July 03, 2006


I've been thinking, is it real gratefulness to say,"Well, at least we're not as bad off as these people." One of Leif's nurses prompted this thought process by a comment during Leif's hospital stay. She was gently reminding us, as so many have, that he was not as bad off as some of the kids, but then she followed up by saying something about not wanting to use others misfortune to feel better about ours. I thought about that everyday as I wandered the halls of the children's hospital, so many disfigured and obviously sick children. So, is it true gratitude to God for me to say, "Ah well, at least Leif doesn't have a disease that will kill him. At least he doesn't have a painful and terminal illness." I wonder what it means to "give thanks" and have an attitude of gratitude in a situation like that? How do i "give thanks" that my son has a disease that demands major surgery? How does a woman who lost her little boy to a "genetic freak accident" give thanks? How does someone give thanks at the bedside of a 6 year old who is dying of leukemia? I praise God that Leif's condition will be manageable after his surgery and that he will not die from his disease. But what if he did have a terminal illness? How would I be grateful in that situation? I try as much as possible to grieve with parent's of children in worse situations, to grieve my own son's condition, and to praise God separate from worse situations...but it is very difficult to do.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Here it comes...

I worry. All the time. Leif has a few little problems with his colostomy. I've been told that there are always a few little problems with colostomies. It's a comfort that these problems are normal, yet I still worry. I worry that Leif is sick. I worry about what could happen.
Leif is expected to have his major bowel surgery in less than 2 months. I worry about that. He is blessedly and blissfully unaware of the impending surgery. I worry that he will not survive the surgery or that there will be complications...
Can someone please tell me that all this worry is normal mother stuff? Will I still worry about him in 2 years when this is all resloved? I feel like it would be comforting to know that this is normal...then I won't resent his disease so much.

I love him so much it hurts sometimes. The idea of him enduring more pain is almost unbearable.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Good God revisited.

So my son Leif Cole has safely entered the world. He was a good size upon birth 8.4 lbs. I couldn't be prouder. Less than 24 hours after he was born he started to spit up bile and was rushed to the Children's Hospital in the city. There numerous tests were done on him, and numerous needles were stuck in him. The next day he was diagnosed with Hershsprung's Disease, a disease of the bowel in which the ganglion nerves are missing thereby keeping the bowl in a constant state of contraction. Leif was quite sick and wasn't able to pass any faecal matter so he had to have a colostomy (a surgery in which the intestine is redirected to empty out of the abdomen, bypassing the effected bowel.) He has now been home for a week after 2 weeks in the neonatal ICU. He will need one more major surgery to bypass the bad bowel and make him able to poo out his rear.

Due to the amazing advances in medicine, his diagnosis is relatively benign. He is alive and healthy and will most likely live a normal life.

God gave him this disease. But God also prepared me for this during my entire pregnancy. God gave him the disease, but God also wept with me as Leif was given a new IV almost daily and had a tube inserted down his tiny throat. God wept with me and held me, as He weeps with all mothers over the injustice of life suffered by their children. During my pregnancy God constantly reminded me to pray that my faith would be strong enough to handle something bad happening to my son...and now God has provided me with a tiny faith able to cope with this. I can thank God for my gorgeous son, and that he is home with us now and that I get to be a part of his every moment in life.

I hope this makes sense.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Egde of the World

Tommorrow at roughly 8:30 am Melbourne time, Chad and I will be meeting our little stranger. We will see the eyes we have craved to see, and hold the little fingers we have tingled to hold. (and quite possibly the little uvula I have been less excited about seeing!) We pass from two to three.

There will most likely not be any action on this site for a while...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Movie Time

I thought it was time for a lighter and fluffier sort of blog. It's movie time.

My top movies right now:
Royal Tenenbaums- A delightfully colourful movie about a truly messed up family. Although there is little in the movie that reflects my life, I find it somewhat refreshing. I can watch it again and again. The soundtrack is also noteworthy highlighting the talents of Niko, and Elliot Smith. If you haven't seen this movie, check it out. It is no longer a new release so it will be a cheap rent!

About a Boy- Not usually a fan of Hugh Grant (stuffy jerk-face) this movie is about a stuffy jerk-face, played superbly by Hugh himself (not much of a stretch) who discovers that there is life outside of himself by intereaction with a junior high age boy. This movie is also no longer a new release so will be easy and cheap to get your hands on.

Look Both Ways- This movie is an Australian film, with Australian actors, and in a VERY Australian tone. It is about grief and recovery; life after death. It is a beautiful and telling movie about finding peace and living after tragedy. If you are able to get your hands on it, it is worth it. It also has some really interesting animated sequences done by the director. A beautiful movie. Highly relatable, in a good way, if you have experienced tragedy of any kind in your life.

Friday, May 12, 2006

My Child

I've been told that my child is breech and the safest way to deliver is by C-section. I've been given an approximate date. The edge of the world is now only a week away. Chad and I, hand in hand, will fall off the edge of the world, drawn there by this little one. There are moments that I feel so frightened that I can do nothing but cry, other moments I want it all to happen today. I can't wait to see the face of my little stranger.

I couldn't sleep last nite. I know it is simply one and many sleepless nites on behalf of this little person. I thought about the world and what a horrible place it is. The terrible things that could happen at any moment. But then I thought about all the beautful things that make up life. There are still birds in the sky, a huge and grand variety to be seen if one takes the time to look up. There is dirt to be rolled in, and rocks to find. I hope that I can help my Sprout to discover this world.

I want so many things for my child. I want this little person to have a love of literature and to have Chad's nose. I want this person to live in the world unafraid to try new things, to be daring and bold. I want my child to find the world fascinating and tell me all the things that he has learned with the wide eyes of wonder and excitement. Most of all, I want this person to have a desperate and passionate love of God. I want it to be this love that colours his whole world.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Time To Grieve

In the past month I have known 2 separate families devastated by one of the most unimaginable kinds of pain, the loss of a child. They both lost their little newborn babies within hours of delivery. Please remember Aaron and Nicole, and Eric and Randi in prayer. I think that the loss of a newborn can be such a lonely grief. No one but the mother's really have any memories of the child. Plus both Nicole and Randi have to deal not only with this loss, but also the usual baby blues, and all the other hormonal changes that occur.

My heart breaks for both of these ladies. Please pray for them and their families as you think of it.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Yet though He slay me...

A few weeks ago I was going for a bit of a walk (waddle really) through my neighbourhood. As I walked I prayed that God would strengthen my faith. I asked Him to give me a faith that could praise Him and thank Him even if things don't go as planned, even when I was hurting. I want to have a faith that will be constantly strengthened by hardship, instead of smashed against the rocks and made weak. Forgetting that that is one of those prayers that will be immediately answered and tested, much like the prayer for humility and patience, I went on my merry way. Oh so proud that I was being so brave in my walk with God.

So a very little bit later I happened upon a house. Chad and I had been looking to rent a larger place to house us and our growing family. We had given up the search in finding anything with 3 bedrooms in our area and in our price range. I had gotten to a place where I had accepted staying here in our tiny little place, and honestly was not looking anymore. But this house came available right down our street (I love our street) AND it was 3 bedrooms, AND it had an Airconditioning unit, AND it was big AND it was beautiful. I had been ignoring it for weeks, but after the sign had been up for so long decided to check on the price, and what do ya know? It was within our price range! I went to check out the inside and it was home. I could feel it. It really seemed like God was blessing us beyond my wildest dreams. Chad and I applied...I tried not to get too worked up...We were rejected. I hadn't realized how fragile my little faith was and I was depressed for a few days over this little thing. I was so angry that God would tease me like that. (I think I still am a little.)

Yesterday, my diamond fell out of my ring. The diamond that Chad gave me and I have worn since getting engaged. My diamond with a little black dot in it, that sparkles anyway. I have no idea when it fell out, but being rather small, it would be impossible to find in any of the numerous places that I went. Again, I ranted at God for taking my precious diamond. Angry at Him for what has felt like a very disappointing time since being in this country, having had irreplacable things taken, opportunities not happen, jobs not gotten, houses not gotten, and now my diamond gone...

I have realized how weak and fragile my poor pathetic faith is. I have a chronic and slow burning anger at God that rears it's ugly head everynow and again. I know now that I need my faith to be made stronger. I have NOTHING to be proud of in that department. I am so weak. It seems so funny that it's the little things that can make us lose it. I still want a faith that will cling to the ankles of God. I want the faith to say, "Yet though you slay me, still I will trust in You. Even when I don't get the house I want, even when my diamond falls out of my ring, still I will praise You." I recognize now that I have a long and painful way to go...but maybe in the end I will get what I need the most, faith the size of a mustard seed.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Easter bunnies and Bloody nails

I was struck this Easter by the sufferings of Christ. We watched the Passion of Christ on Good Friday and for the first time I realized that a huge part of Christ's sufferings was the lonliness and despair he must have felt. He was sold to his enemies by a friend. While He was aching with the weight of the knowledge of what was to happen his friends slept. One friend denied Him. I think I have become so immune to the story that I fail to see how painful this would have been. His own people rejected Him, and cried out for his death. This man had loved and longed for them. He was made fun of as He was beaten, insult heaped upon powerlessness. In any other person our hearts would bleed to hear such a story, but this man, well, it's just Jesus. In Sunday school we learn to say "He died for us" without any concept of what He went through. We're almost bored by the idea.
He suffered lonliness in a way that no person will ever experience it. God turned His back on Jesus too. God turned His back on Him at Jesus' utmost need for a friend. Jesus took on the weight of the world, all the hate and anger and abuse. He became the most disgusting vile criminal on that cross, and He was rejected by God, so that the most disgusting vile criminal can have a chance to truly live. No one else on earth is ever truly alone. God sees all of us and aches with us in our pain. He was truly alone to be with us in our lonliness. He experienced true pain to be with us in our pain.
Sometimes we wonder at God loving us. Either we complain that He doesn't love us enough or that He couldn't possibly love us in all we've done. I know realize that we join in the ranks of abusers when we question such love. "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13. There was no greater show of love for us than what happened Good Friday, and no greater show of completion than what happened the following Sunday morning.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

This Island Earth

I have been desperately home sick lately. I feel so far from what my life was. Out-of-touch and distant. I feel like I'm watching as earth is getting smaller and smaller in an already too small window. (Not to mention I have stand far from the window due to an 8month pregnancy gut!) I miss my country and the culture. I miss good ol' American shopping and relative friendliness. I miss mexican food and Good Times hamburgers and shakes. I miss my family...and even at moments miss Chicago. As I feel further and further from the world I feel so overwhelmed with an astronaut's loneliness. A huge world and a little me, in a vaccuum.

My brother just left to go to Iraq. He'll be a body guard to higher-up Army officials. I wasn't at his going away party. I wasn't there to see him off on his bus trip to his body-guard training. I wasn't there. I called to say goodbye. I hadn't talked to him in 6 months. I hope that's not the last that I ever get to speak with him.

My beloved and only Grandfather is in the hospital again. He's been in and out and has had periods of being non-sensical. I can't be there to help him. I can't be there to help my Grandma. I can't be there. When I said goodbye to him the last time that I saw him I had this terrible feeling it would be the last I would see of him...I hope that I haven't seen the last of him.

I feel not so much like I'm on the other side of this Island Earth, but well and truly on another planet. I am able to keep radio contact as I drift further and further into outer space. Untouched and Untouchable.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Semi's and Small Victories

We were heading off to church. Aleisha would follow my sister and I there and then we'd go shopping and maybe a movie. She had called her parents to confirm that the plans were alright. We got into our cars and headed out, waving and laughing at each other. My sister, Rachel the driver, headed out, turning left onto the little country highway. The highway wasn't busy, but if a car was coming it was coming fast since the speed limit was 75 mph. We were merrily on our way, but poor Aleisha got stuck there with some traffic and couldn't turn. Rachel and I looked back to see if we needed to pull over or if she could catch up. We saw it all through the rear view mirror; the semi, the scream of skidding tires, and a huge crash. Aleisha's car went skidding sideways and the semi finally stopped about a 1/4 of a mile down the road. Rachel immediately pulled over and we both went running out of the car. Rachel yelled at me to grab her phone so I ran back to the car. I thought Aleisha was fine. I thought I had seen her get out of her car. I couldn't find the dumb phone and ran to where there car was. By this point Rachel was in hysterics. I screamed at her to pray, to cry out to Jesus...There in the car was Aleisha. I approached her and started to scream her name, "Aleisha, Aleisha, come on Aleisha, come one Aleisha, open your *&())) eyes Aleisha!" There was by now a large number of people there. All of them saints. Someone came up with a blanket, I tried to wrap her in it without moving her. I stood there sceaming her name with my hand on her shoulder, watching her fade...She was turning blue and her head was bobbing. Someone had called emergency and they soon came up and took over. They had to pry open the car door and pull her out. Someone was saying Hail Marys. That prayer will always be very meaningful to me. So many people were there, wanting to help I could feel it. Her parent's showed up...We waited. It seemed like days that we were there. She died and I watched as a mother was told her only daughter was gone. "Not my girl! Not my Aleisha! No NO NO!"
That was well over a year ago. It made me realize that life is so short. We never know when our end is. I have developed a fear of cars. I have hardly driven since then, and a little rush of panic goes through me every morning as Chad heads off to work in our car. I have learned to trust in prayer as our only defense. Yet life must go on and I can't live with such fear. Cars have become a necesity of modern living. So yesterday I had a small victory. I have been needing to learn to drive a manual car, and yesterday I had a lesson. I felt as if I had summited a mighty mountain. I still have a long way to go until I am competent, but it was my small victory over fear.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

O is for Oprah.

I was watching Oprah the other day ( I am a stay-at-home house-wife) and on it was a re-run of this guy who had written a book called He's Just Not That Into You. It basically details for women signs that men put out when they aren't that into them. I discovered something watching the show. An answer to a question that had long haunted the halls of my heart. When I was a freshman I dated a guy and decided to love him. I'm sure all of us did as freshman, cause that's what freshman do. We dated for only a few months before the summer break where he headed home to Alaska and I to Colorado after a trip through Eastern Europe. The summer progressed and I didn't hear from him much. When I finally got a call from him, he had bad news for me. I got dumped! (Now if you have seen my picture you may be as surprised as I was that I could get dumped.) I never thought a little freshman fling could hurt so bad. That was over 8 years ago and I have since married a delicious man, but I still have always wondered why this guy broke up with me. Well, Oprah has answered my question! Alaska-boy simply didn't like me any more. The obvious signs were all there, but like a fool I waited for him to do the inevitable. In waiting, I got told a standard breakup line, "I need to focus on school. Maybe after school we can..." I have always wondered what he really meant by that, but no longer. It has taken me 8 years to realize the simple and basic truth. So, thank you Oprah for freeing me from this question that has ever plagued my existence! May this be an encouragement to any woman who has ever wondered.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Public Patience

I have recently begun my antenatal classes. My husband and I went to the hospital where the classes are, sat there with 10 other couples wide eyed as we watched the video on labour. After our tea and sandwiches (we live in the country of tea-breaks) we toured the hospital and got to see the delivery rooms and then the rooms where women stay after they've delivered. Here is where my gripe begins.
I am living in a country far far from my home. I have given up good milkshakes for yummy cookies, and being able to use the word "fanny" with reckless abandon. It's very difficult to find a full-time job here, so I have also given up any earning potential I had. But, I have not yet felt the things that I have given up as keenly as I do now. Being pregnant in this, my foreign home, has brought me bags full of "surrender". I was ever so excited about socialized medicine when I got here and didn't have to pay for Doctor's visits...but now... I am a public pregnant patient. I had dreams of using a midwife to follow me through my pregnancy, someone who understood that I was a first time mother... I have no idea how one does it here. So I have surrendered that dream to a gruff and non-conversant OBGYN who answers "yes" by silence, and "no" with simply "no". Too many patients, no time for explanations...
Evidently my concept of my hospital stay, also will be "surrendered". Here you pay for T.V. and phone usage, you give birth in a single room but could get booted anytime after 4 hours after birth and transfered to a double or quadroople room with only a curtain between you and your neighbour and not even a door between you and the main hallway. Well, I am a public patient after all.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's a Boy!

The other day I was shopping and as I was checking out, the cashier asked me how many months I was. I told her that I was 7 months, to which she replied," Turn around, so I can see your belly." Confusedly I complied, expecting her to comment, as many people normally do, on whether I seemed big or small for 7 months. She surprised me by announcing that it was going to be a boy and telling me to come in when the baby was born to let her know.

I think it's so funny the amount of conversations that a pregnant belly begin. As a rule customer service in this country is not so friendly. They tell you your tally and then silently send you on your way. However, when you have a pregnant belly (if the cashier is female) the door it wide open to conversation. I've heard about women's friends who just had babies, their names and sizes. I've heard about thier own children or grandchildren. On my daily walk the other day a couple chatted to me about my pregnancy and I was reminded by the husband that I was now in the bad part of pregnancy. I'm frequently reminded about how painful labor is going to be (usually by men whom, I think, are fascinated by the idea of labour and how painful it is.) At church, my belly is patted and my size is ALWAYS commented on. There is queries about how I feel, etc. It's amazing!

I also find it wondrous at the things that people feel comfortable saying. One woman at church came up and told me how she thought I was just fat, but then remembered that I was pregnant. Hmmm.... Many people told me at the beginning that I was huge and would probably have twins, sending me into weeks of panic that twins were on the way. It's pretty incredible that something like pregnancy can bring a whole world of people together...or at least give us something to talk about for a few minutes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Few of My Favourite Things

Track pants
Cold days
Rainy days
Sprout wiggling
Chad (see picture and know
Seamless undies
Comfy shoes
Bright green birds
Evil white rabbits

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Good God.

I work in this Children's Program at my church. I am in the year 2-3 class. This term we have talking about some attributes of God. We've covered Love, Peace, Patience, and Goodness. Last nite we learned about the Goodness of God. I have been thinking about the goodness of God for a while, but one thing struck me last nite as my friend, James, taught the lesson. Goodness as defined by God is much different than what it is as defined by us. One of the passages that James had the kids look up was Exodus 33:19-20 where God tells Moses that he may not see His (God's) face, but that Moses will see God's goodness pass before Him. No one may see the face of Goodness and live. It seems that there is a terrible and fearsome side to goodness.

One thing that has always been a comfort to me is the quote from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe in discussing Aslan, the god in these books, "Safe! No, He's not safe, but He is good." I've always applied it to my own faith and have aspired to come to grips with a God that is not safe, but whom is good. Interestingly, this same "good" god, Aslan, in another book, The Horse and His Boy, is depicted delivering a little orphan boy to some abusive and reclusive fisherman, wildly chasing and frightening the horses, and attacking the girl in their little band leaving her with scars that will never go away. The reader discovers later Aslan's reasons for all of these things, and is set a little more at ease with him. I know that my God has these same fearsome capabilities. However we may never see His reasons for the things He does. My good God allows babies to starve in Africa, and children to be sold into sex-slavery in Asia. My good God allows hundreds of thousands of people to die in natural disasters. My good God allows 17 year old girls to die in tragic car accidents. My good God could at any moment, take my beloved husband from me. Yet, this same good God has allowed me to meet, fall desperately in love with, and marry my kindred spirit. This same good God has given me the wondrous ability to carry a child, my precious little Sprout. This same good God has sent people to Asia to rescue those little children sold into slavery, and to feed the starving in Africa. My good God, in His terrible goodness, sent His Son, whom He loved more than any human brain can fathom, to die a humiliating, gruesome, and painful death. In His terrible goodness turned His back on this Son whom he loved desperately, and left Jesus all alone on the cross as he was crushed by the weight of the world. His goodness did this to redeem me, and anyone who chooses to believe it.

God's goodness is so much deeper than what I like to see. I like to use the word "good" for ice-cream, and a cute outfit. God sees a much larger goodness than I ever will. The "goodness" of God is not a warm fuzzy thought intended to fill the human heart with nice things. It is a fearsome and awesome thing. It is simultaneously comforting and frightening. This is my good God. My terrible, good God.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Oscar Anyone?

Did anyone watch the Oscar's? I was fascinated that they continually brought up the "out-of-touchness" with the common man, and the "bravery" of Hollywood to bring up so many issues that plaque our modern day society. George Clooney announced that he was proud to be part of the out-of-touch elite, stating that Hollywood stood up for blacks when the public, as a whole, did not etc. Hmm...

So it seems that this year Hollywood was bravely taking on society's view of homosexuals. A majority of films that were highlighted were about gay men. Are gay people still truly ostracized by society? Maybe I'm the one who is out of touch. Homosexuality is praised on many American sitcoms, lauded in magazines, and culturally sympathized with. So what would it look like if society accepted gays if they are not already?

I wonder if constantly being told that I am homophobic because I am a Christian, just as I am racist because I am white, may not have the reverse effect. When I first arrived a Moody Bible Institute many years ago as a freshman from CO, I was immediately informed that I was racist. Of course no one said that out right, but it was constantly implied. Now growing up in CO I did not interact with many black people, but I did not think that the few I interacted with were any less human than I. However after years of being in Chicago with the message that "white people are racist" I began to believe that I was...and maybe became so. Now, don't get me wrong, racism is a huge issue. It is addressed in the Bible as a sin. I don't want to be racist. I desire to love all people, equally. I want to see the soul of people and not their culture or skin colour or even sexual choices. I guess I feel at a loss. What am I supposed to do? I do not spit on people when they tell me they are gay. I won't stone them for such an admittance. I will not, however, celebrate their gayness anymore than they would celebrate my heterosexuality. I can celebrate them as a person, but I choose to separate everyone's sexuality from their personhood. I truly desire to love all people as Jesus commanded us to.

So if I am way out of line here, please, let me know.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Ramblings of Pregnancy

I am currently about 7 months pregnant. I find myself in awe of the human body. Not only can a woman's body expand to some mutant size and shape, but during pregnancy a temporary organ is created that is the mixing ground necessary to keep the baby alive and the mother with the much needed hormones etc. Once this organ is no longer needed it is dispelled. Crazy. I feel a little like I'm a host to some foreign alien...which I guess I am. I can watch my belly move on it's own, and feel little feet and hands kicking and punching.

I have always been in love with the intricacies of the human body. From beginning to end we are a fascinating bunch. I'm amazed that we can think creative thoughts and that each and every person is imbued with their own personality, their own strengths and weaknesses, and their own way of processing thoughts. Even one misfiring nerve ending can have huge ramifications.

All pregnancies are truly a miracle. So many things have to go perfectly in order for it to work, yet is seems such a common occurance. Drug addicts have babies, young teens have babies, old women have babies...Each one of these, whether planned or wanted, is truly a miraculous event and achievement for the human body. I truly and deeply believe this, and although my pregnancy was not necesarily planned, it was definitely wanted, and yet I still flag in my wonderment of it. As stretch marks rake their way across what my husband called a "cute gut" and walking becomes less and less graceful, I get caught up in griping. (Even shedding tears for what will no longer be a "cute gut" but now an "alien head" gut covered with ugly purple scars.) I know that I need to stop and think about all that God has done in my body and that of my unborn child (we call it "Sprout"). As I write this, I am again astounded by this whole miracle. My child, my beautiful little "Sprout"...

Let's Begin at the Begin

I am now venturing into the wide new world of blog. My dad would be so happy since I have been known to be a technophobe. I've been toying with the idea of doing this for some time now. So, now throwing caution to the wind, here I come. Just wait for all the wonderful things that will be said on this, my blog. You'll be astounded, awed and in wonderment at such a blog. The things that I have to say are truly worth reading, I'm sure you'll agree.

So welcome to the wonderful world of "Lost In Oz"!

Sit back, relax, and enjoy.