Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Deep in the Heart of My Son

As a parent, I often wonder what kind of Spiritual Formation my children (5,4, and 1) are actually experiencing. Their words often don't tell me much. Many of their words are spent experimenting with their world; trying out phrases for the sound of them, or trying out their effects on others around them. The kind of deep reflections and truths-from-the-heart that a parent longs to hear feel hard to come by.

Last night, I had a glimpse.

Lately, at night, my 5-yr-old, who is very extroverted and has ALWAYS hated going to bed, has been saying how he doesn't like to sleep because he is scared. I have been someone skeptical of this though never outright calling it false. Instead, I have tried to minimally comfort him. I figured he was saying that because he knew it stopped me in my tracks and made me stick around and do more things for him before leaving his room.

Last night he wasn't complaining about fear, but I know he was dealing with it.

I was laying at the end of his bed as he tried to go to sleep when I heard (very faintly, whispered):

"God is with me."

He rolled over, eyes open, sucking his thumb.... Then, a minute later, I heard:

"God is stronger than anything."

I was stunned. These were things I had taught him to pray if he ever felt afraid, but I had no idea he actually prayed them. Another minute went by, when he thrust his hand in the air from the laying-down position and whispered forcefully:

"In the name of Jesus, I will not be afraid!"

I was so proud of him and so glad to see him living his faith out with his own heart.

As a parent, I really want to ask him about this, but as an amateur spiritual director, I know these are precious words. Words spoken in private (forgetting I was in the room) between him and his heavenly Father. He needs those words to stay warm in the oven of his heart. The private verification of faith and prayers met by the holy presence of God.

The desert fathers talked of "keeping the oven doors of your heart shut," and not letting them open for everyone around. We need these moments so that our rich and living faith can grow with God privately, dearly, nearly to us.

I'm so glad my son is getting that even now. Praise the Lord.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm Going To Miss....

Here are the things we're going to miss about living in Pittsburgh.....

*Spending the summers outside all the time
*Not needing the air conditioning for most of the summer and leaving the windows open
*All the parks to choose from (I mean, there are tons of parks in Pittsburgh!)
*Living one block from the Farmer's Market that lasts all summer through November
*Buying local honey from a local farmer
*Driving over one of the 300+ bridges 
*Tons of fireflys in the summer
*Swinging on the porch swing
*Eating dinner/lunch/breakfast on the front porch while we enjoy the nice summer weather
*Hanging out on the front porch while we watch the kids play
*Being able to cross the street for a spontaneous playdate and get some good talk time with friends
*The way all the trees turn different colors in the fall
*My lovely and very good friends
*Being able to walk to Jon's school, the hardware store, health food store, friend's houses, CVS (a.k.a. local convenience store), bakery, popcorn store, hole in the wall- but tastey- Chinese take out, park, local coffee store in 10 minutes or LESS!
*Family lunch day at Trinity
*Craft group every Monday where I was surrounded by several wise women (and where I asked all my questions about how to knit--who am I going to ask now??!)
*Not having to drive 30 minutes to get anywhere 
*Racoon Creek (state park with cool swimming area)
*Our pediatrician--lovely Christian man who prayed for Graham before he got his circumcision and vaccines.  He gave us his HOME phone number so we could call him if we needed him!!  I only used it twice.
*Ewan and Isaac's Preschool--Noah's Ark
*There was something about living in Ambridge that felt very LOCAL--being able to walk several places probably had a lot to do with it--but you felt more connected to the people around you versus the subarbs, where you tend to feel more disconnected from your neighbors and you really have to drive to get to most places.  People walk and even though we lived in a more urban environment, you get to know people's faces even if you never learn their names.  
*Watching the squirrels do gymnastics on the electric/cable/phone wires in our backyard
*Watching Ewan scare the bunnies away from our garden in the backyard
*Having a backyard (we'll be living in campus housing for 4 years so no backyard)
*The Trinity community
*Spring!  I never REALLY knew how beautiful Spring could be until I lived somewhere there are actually seasons. You tell yourself in February and March that Spring will arrive in April and you can make it.
*Looking at my favorite tree in the front yard, a Japanese Maple.  And it is where we buried Keeva.  I'll miss that a lot.
*Having my own garden
*The Midwife Center

Things I'm NOT going to miss....
*The long, cold, dreary GRAY winter.  Oh wait, I only get to enjoy a sweltering Texas summer before going to England where it is a long, (not quite as) cold, dreary winter.  But then there are the summers there.....
*Living in a 4 story house.  I've never had such a hard time keeping a house clean before!  
*Stink bug invasions
*A cluttered entry way 6+months of the year from winter coats, fall coats, scarves, boots, mittens, hats....
*Fine coal dust finding its way into my house
*Shoving 3 kids with heavy coats on into their car seats
*Feeling like I live in a drum (hardwood floors on 3 levels echo like you wouldn't believe!)
*Not being able to see sunsets

I'm sort of surprised, but I ran out of things I'm NOT going to miss pretty quick.  There were a lot of great things about living in Pittsburgh while Jon went to Trinity.  I'm still reflecting on what God taught me while we were there although the first word that come to mind is endurance.  

We are glad for our time in Texas before we head across the pond.  We want to spend a lot of time with family and friends before we see everyone less often than we did while we were 1200 miles away.  Even though it is hotter than hot, I'm enjoying the sunny days and looking at the great big sky.  My mom lives in the country and we took over the second floor of her house.  My computer is set up next to several windows and I spend a lot of time looking out those windows.  (Insert dreamy look here)

A little praise note for ya....we got our Visas!  We got notification that the visas are on their way.  HUGE relief!  Those things are complicated!  I know some of you know what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Worst Move With Some Great Help

So, I told Jon that having a miscarriage in the middle of moving across the country and then to another country pretty much makes it the worst move ever. There are many thing about this move that have been so complicated--selling a lot of our stuff on Craig's List, Ebay, and a yard sale and doing all the sorting, sorting, and more sorting before that. I did find that it is very freeing to get rid of stuff. I kind of liked that part. I think I'll be much more aware of buying thing and making sure I really need it.

After passing the baby on May 29th, I had some friends come over to help me price things for the yard sale that we were having the next weekend. The day before the yard sale I started running fever and didn't feel too hot. Saturday morning of the yard sale I was still running fever but managed after taking some ibuprofen. My good friend Lauren, came over early in the morning and helped run the yard sale. She sacrificed her whole day and worked my yard sale while I tried to take it easy. Another friend, Kelly, came in the afternoon and I took Isaac to the movies. We figured that sitting in the movie theater was probably going to keep me from doing too much at the yard sale. Our friends, the Corns, took Ewan fishing with them for the day.

I ran a fever from June 5th until June 16th when I ended up in the emergency room because I had some major, major bleeding. I had finally scheduled a sonogram to double check and make sure that there wasn't any tissue left from the pregnancy. Running fever for several days isn't normal and I was convinved that the fever was related to the miscarriage somehow. The fever never got very high until June 13th or 14th. I had already lost a lot of blood the day I passed the baby so I was concerned at losing copious amounts of blood again. I called the midwife on call and she told me to go ahead to the ER. Oh yeah, did I mention that this all happened the day we were loading the moving truck? And did I mention that we hadn't gotten as much done as we needed to because I'd been running fever for so many days? I could manage the fever during the day with Ibuprofen but by the night time I was toast and the fever was back. So, I could do some packing during the day but I was not full of the amount of energy I normally would be. I felt like I needed to monitor the fever so I would know if it was getting above 100.4.

Anyway, the bleeding was so bad that everytime I stood up it was like a faucet of blood leaving my body. I started getting light headed and had a friend take me to the ER. Jon was gone getting the moving truck when I went to the ER. He didn't even know until he got back. Jon's mom somehow managed taking care of all 3 kids, doing some cleaning, and even a little packing.

During this time I was running fever (before the bleeding) Jon is working double time packing, managing kids, and applying for our Visa to England. Holy cow, that was a lot of paperwork that needed to be done. So, so, so many details to be done--I can't even remember all of them now.

While I was in the ER I passed a large something that we think was probably the placenta. The theory is that my body was trying to attack it to get rid of it. After I passed the clot the bleeding slowed down significantly. By the time I got home from the ER I was a little loopy from the blood loss and was told to do nothing but sit on my hind quarters. I enjoyed dinner and took a shower and managed not to do very much Tuesday night. I wasn't supposed to do anything on Wednesday either except save my energy for the plane flight with Graham later that evening. Well, that didn't happen. There was still SOOOOO much left to do because of all my stupid health complications that I HAD to help finish packing. Jon's mom did pretty much all the cleaning, except for our bedroom, which I did. Somehow, by God's grace alone we got mostly everything done that day. Jon dropped Graham and I off at the airport on Wednesday night and because of severe weather, I had to get rebooked on a flight at 6am the next morning. Jon came back to the airport and picked me up and we all stayed up until midnight cleaning and finishing all those final details of packing. Then it was up at 4am to get ready for the airport. Jon, his parents, and the two older boys were heading out laterthat morning in the moving truck and our Honda.

Thankfully and seriously, the easiest thing about this whole moving experience was that plane flight with Graham. He did very well and I was able to keep him entertained. Neither of our planes were full so he had plenty of room to run around and could sit in the seat next to me.

We had a LOT of help from our friends. I had friends bring over meals after we passed the baby (which by the way we named Keeva (Gaelic for Beloved) and we had a little family burial service for the baby too), friends come and help do some packing, run the yard sale, price yard sale items, pray for me, take the boys, or come over and entertain them while we got work done. We could not have successfully made this move if we didn't have the help of our community. Thank you to all of you who were persistant in asking if I needed help, offering your time, resources, and food. We truly needed it. God provided everything we needed just in time.

I was so thankful to finally get to Texas because the hardest part was over. At the same time, I feel the most emotionally disconnected from how I'm feeling about this whole experience. I haven't had very much time to emotionally process the loss of the baby or moving away from some very good friends. Everything was such a rush to get out of the house and make our moving schedule happen on time that I didn't even have a moment to stop and say goodbye to our house, our neighborhood, and our community.

I'm finishing this blog post several days after I started it.  I went back to the ER this past Wednesday after passing out at a church event.  I whacked my head when I fell and my nexk hurt.  I had about an hour of heavy bleeding earlier that morning and don't think I drank enough fluids to cope with the blood loss.  With the heat I just passed out.  At the ER I got a CT scan to make sure there was no brain injury or broken neck.  They also did blood work to check my blood count, which was lower than the previous week.  Basically, I'm working at 60% of my blood volume and need to take it easy so my body can heal.  That is pretty hard to do and not feel guilty about it all the live long day. So, I do more than I should which at this point isn't working out so well.  

Jon just took Graham to the ER after he fell off the kitchen counter.  Someone should have been closer by, but turned around for a second and off he fell.  They are waiting to be seen right now as I type.  I am beginning to think that our family is under spiritual attack.  Jon is scheduled to be ordained in a little over 2 weeks and I'm wondering if the enemy is not liking that too much.  I am asking all my friends and family out there, who read this and who pray, to pray for our family.  We need the protection of the Lord during this time.  

Friday, June 12, 2009

Family Fun With Shaving Cream

Ewan had a great idea this morning.  "Let's get out shaving cream and put beards on all of our faces and take a picture!"  Everyone thought this sounded like great fun--except for Isaac who wasn't thrilled with putting shaving cream on his face.  We tried convincing him to participate to no avail. He did take some pictures of the 4 shaving cream faces though.  A neighbor came down to say hi and took a picture of all 5 of us.  I think when you pack for a move you have to have some good laughs in between!

Ewan looks like that famous painting in this picture.  

I highly recommend family fun with shaving cream!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Fun Pictures

I'm avoiding posting about the miscarriage.  I have some things I want to say but tonight isn't the night--mainly becuase I'm starting this post at 10:45pm.  Why am I not in bed?!

I have some pictures that are much more enjoyable for me to think about right now.  And they are adding up on the computer.  May as well post them now while I'm in the mood.

On Memorial Day we went to a parade in a nearby town to celebrate.  We went with our friends and neighbors, the Prescotts.  

Everyone lined up waiting for the parade to start.
Old fire truck.
Vietnam Vets.
I'm not sure what this vehicle was but there was a guy on it shooting a cannon that was LOUD.  I think he really enjoyed scaring all the moms and making them jump 5 feet.
Cool biker dudes, and chicks.
Bagpipe band.  They were AWESOME!
And how do you keep a 20 month old entertained while all the cars, bands, dogs, police, firetrucks go by?  Let him chow down on lollipops being tossed out!  One for each hand.  Aw...the benefits of being the third child.

In case you've forgotten what kinds of things entertain 1 year olds....making a mess and moving messes from one place to another.
Naked cuteness reading a book?  I mean, how much cuter can you get!

Ewan and Graham were "helping" me work in the basement.  And by helping me, I mean taking things out of all the different sorting piles and leaving them on the floor in no order whatsoever.
This is me holding baby Noah.  One of the couples from my classes came by to show off their wonderful bundle of preciousness.  They came to my Monday night class last week and told their birth story and I got to hold him the whole time!  I was in baby love land.  They took this picture and made it look all cool.  

I'll post about how we are doing soon--miscarriage and moving stuff.  We moved up our date to leave Pittsburgh to June 18th.  That means we now have 17 days to get everything done!  YIKES!  On that note, I'm going to go unwind and do some emotional eating on the couch.

Cheers, and enjoy the pictures!