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 why...hot.)
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.