Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Fun Craft Project For A Gift

Tomorrow, I get to go take a friend out for lunch to celebrate her birthday. One of her friends from her home group arranged for 40 of us who love her lots to celebrate her birthday for 40 consecutive days. I think it's a great idea. Her friend who organized this suggested we put our creativity to work to come up with some special way of remembering the day.

So....Grasshopper and I painted an unfinished wooden picture frame I picked up from Michael's. I really wanted this to be Grasshopper's work, so I just gave him several brushes and put several colors of acrylic paint on two paper plates and let him go for it. He combined his brush work with using his hands and elbows. The whole frame looks like one incredibly colorful modern work of art, and you can see a few places where his hand or finger prints come through clearly. It's adorable. All I did was paint around the inside and outside edge to finish it, and then put Grasshopper's name and age on the back.

I had watched this neat card making video on a blog awhile back and filed it away as something I'd want to make some day. Today was the day. It took forever to relocate the video, but once I did I was reminded it was worth all the effort. The card I made took awhile to make, but I loved every minute of it. I'd take pictures, but it has real names all over it. So you'll have to watch the video to get the idea. My card starts out with red, blue and yellow, and then turns into ivory and teal and a fun plaid, which then turns into the plaid with some blue and purple blocks. It ends with rose colored paper in various patterns and solids. It is a very cool card, and I'm so proud of it. I think it will definitely be one I make again for a gift for someone else.

Here's the video tutorial I used. I would watch a step of it, complete the step, and then go back and watch the next portion. That made it easy peasy. The only thing I did differently was to use double sided scrapbooking tape so I wouldn't have to worry about waiting for glue to dry or paper getting too saturated or wrinkly. I've played with the card enough already to see that the tape should be strong enough to hold it permanently. This is such a fun gift! Check it out!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Christmas Gift For You

My mom told me about this video tonight. I guess she's from around where they live. It's pretty special if you ask me. Just the right Christmas gift as I look over at the manger with the handmade baby Jesus that was well kissed tonight by a little boy I love.

Check it out!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Lots of life has been happening. My toddler was in the hospital for a bit. We traveled home to the States for a bit. Our adopted family here has been in the midst of a tough journey. I've been following what I think might be a new calling for me. All kinds of stuff. But I don't feel much like writing. Instead, I'll just share a video I love right now. A blogging friend I hope to one day meet has this song on her blog, which made me decide to find out who Forever Jones is. And that led me to watching a few videos. This one makes me want to dance with God.

*Loading this was a bear and I have NO idea why. If you click on the partial box in the far right hand corner at the bottom, it will take you to YouTube where you can watch it there without having any of the screen cut off.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sacred Stories

“Story is the way the Spirit of God can bind up our wounds. When these words find their mark, God heals two hearts-yours and mine.” ~ Ann Voskamp

I read this quote on a blog, can't remember which one. But it is so true. I've been reading John Little's book, Catherine's Gift. I highly recommend it. I wrote him yesterday to thank him for the way his book is helping heal my heart. And he wrote me back. It's like there is finally someone who truly understands the emotional impact of a traumatic birth injury. While I married for love and at an age that was definitely considered adult, and had all the advantages of a wealthy western nation's health care at my disposal, the injury still happened and it still wounded my heart just as much as it wounded my body. So while my story is not entirely like those of the young women in his book, our hearts echo the same refrain.

And so it is true that his book is healing my heart like nothing else. And it is also true that story is a way that God's Spirit binds up our wounds. The stories of the women from Ethiopia are doing just that for a redhead in Canada. His words found their mark - my heart. And such is the way that God heals.


The other day some friends of ours were discussing my usage of "Inkling" on everything. They thought it must symbolize something, but they didn't quite know what that might be. When I told them, they had the typical "aha" moment, and then life went back to normal with our boys playing and the men talking and me sitting quietly and making sure no one toppled Grasshopper over in their enthusiasm for life.

Even though I feel as if part of my brain has disappeared since giving up all teaching jobs and moving to Canada to become a wife and mother, I still try to stay somewhat connected to my love of all things literary. It's not particularly easy when my toddler would rather have me read Goodnight, Gorilla five zillion times in a row. But I try. I even made the owner of a local used bookstore light up when I asked him if he had any John Buchan or Arthur Quiller Couch in stock. I think he'd had one too many people trying to sell him their cast off Danielle Steele's that day, and he needed a sign that not all was lost in the realm of literature appreciation.

So, do you have some literary loves? Do you too wish you could have been invited to an informal meeting of the Inklings? Do you wish you could have known Henry David (the original one, not my husband) to ask him about his writings and thoughts? Or am I the only one surreptitiously smelling books in used bookstores and looking to know Hugo Dyson and his fellow comrades a little better? Please tell me I'm not the only one. But if I am, maybe that's okay. After all, that leaves more Q for me. =)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bits & Pieces

So I guess it's been awhile since I've written. Life has been so busy, and though I've been learning and experiencing a lot, I haven't had a whole lot to say that could be shared in this spot. But I'll give it a try....

~ Grasshopper is growing. He is such a delight. He isn't talking outside of a very few words. I worry sometimes, but his comprehension and ability to understand are so great that I'm trying to just be patient. People keep telling me that he will be one of those kids who just starts speaking in paragraphs when he turns three. I hope that's correct. For now, we he's good at saying "no, bah (for bottle), bo (for book), yeah, mama, dada, ball, dat (for that)" and he makes various animal and machine sounds.

He still sleeps in our bed. Henry David is probably going to build him a bed of his own, and I'm hoping to move out my dresser and put it there until I can feel comfortable having him in the nursery. Because the nursery has the boiler closet in it, that makes me more than a little nervous. Plus, I like having Grasshopper close by. I sleep better and so does he. But it's getting to be that time where the mama and the daddy get their bed back to themselves.

He still isn't a great eater and he still asks for a bottle at night. We're working on this. If chocolate could suddenly possess all the nutrients of the fruits and vegetables of the world, we wouldn't have a problem. But as it is not the same as a green bean or piece of kale, I will continue to try to get my child to eat enough so he can grow.

He loves to help me with chores, regularly running "errands" for me around the house, emptying out the dishwasher and handing me the dishes, loading and unloading the washer, and helping me mop and sweep and dust. He's actually quite good at it. For 21 months, I find that impressive. The trick will be helping him keep that desire to clean and do chores once he's into his elementary years.

~ I've been reading. After a long time of literary starvation, I am making up for lost time. I read David Platt's Radical recently and am attempting to take on the year long experiment he suggests. I also enjoyed some books about First Nations, and one woman's journey through Labrador. And of course, I'm always checking out cookbooks from the library and discovering new recipes and methods of cooking. My latest find is a cookbook from Iraq. Books for Grasshopper are also on my reading list, with the latest being one on mollusks. (Did you know a slug is a mollusk? We have a lot of those, and he is very intrigued with them, so getting a book on them seemed like a good idea.) I'm in the middle of reading Ravi Zacharias' latest, Has Christianity Failed You?, and it is proving to be rather intriguing. I'm also in the middle of reading Chesterton's Orthodoxy, which is one that I've been wanting to tackle for awhile now. And finally, I'm in the middle of reading Catherine's Gift, which is a sequel of sorts to the book Hospital by the River about a doctor who pioneered fistula treatment in Ethiopia. This book is breaking my heart all over again, and as much as the idea of traveling to Africa makes me want to puke, the idea of loving on women who have been through a hell that I can definitely begin to understand firsthand makes me want to go despite my fear. I keep dreaming of all the things I would load in my suitcase to take to them. (Poise pads included.)

~ Speaking of fistula treatment....that continues to be a journey. I continue to press on with physical therapy to regain my ability to run and do anything requiring the use of my core. I go on a retreat in less than two weeks, and during the free time I plan to use that time to put my experience into official words for the official complaints. A part of me would rather just forget this part of my journey and go on with my life, but protecting other women from the poor medical practice of the folks involved in my case is a responsibility of mine. (God didn't give me a justice complex for no reason.) The surgery appears to have been successful, and though I still experience pain at times, the fistula seems to be gone once and for all. We still won't know for some months, but I am hopeful that my days of living with an abscessing fistula are permanently over. Now the hard work of getting back into shape after nearly two years of mostly sedentary living has begun, though it is hampered by not yet being allowed to run or do anything that would use my abdominal muscles to a great degree.

~ We are going "home" for Thanksgiving for the first time since getting married. I am excited to get to celebrate with Americans and really experience all the tradition again. I try to keep it up here on my own, but it's not nearly as fun. And it's also not nearly as easy since Henry David doesn't get American Thanksgiving off as a holiday in Canada, which means I'm cooking all day all by myself. So going home is going to be special. I can't wait!

~ I'm being stretched and challenged in a few areas of life, not the least of which is my collection of clothing and books. I'm being moved to share it permanently with others around me who actually have greater need of it than I do. So far, I've made some small attempts to share. Nothing earth shattering yet, but I'm on my way. A friend of mine was gifted with my favorite wool skirt and some favorite wool sweaters and some favorite tops. I don't know yet if she has chosen to keep them (if they fit and if she likes them), but I'm hoping they bless her in some way. My goal is to feel the "freedom we find from the things we leave behind".

~ We're doing a marriage book as the current study for our home group (a small group of couples from our church). The women are reading For Women Only and the men are reading For Men Only. We decided to do this after realizing that we collectively knew too many couples to count who have been married for years but are throwing in the towel, as well as other couples who were going through a tough season (us included). So we're reading the books and discussing them, and then standing together to commit to encourage one another in marriage and to stand by each other as couples. After that, we're talking about reading a book that deals with the whole idea of being "downwardly mobile" and participating in distributing wealth. (In other words, there isn't a shortage of wealth in our world. There is just a shortage of distribution and sharing. Not to be equated with socialism or communism, of course!!!)

~ This summer I didn't get to harvest any berries, but I did get to can peaches and make grape jelly. A young couple in our church are starting up a community garden on the hazelnut farm our church owns for next year, and I jumped at the chance to sign up for a plot. I can't wait to get back into gardening and putting up fruit and veggies. It should be easier next year because Grasshopper will be older and my health will be hopefully back to normal, enabling me to actually go pick berries and plant a garden. When they announced this idea on Sunday, it took everything in me not to cheer loudly. As it was, even my "soft" cheering collected stares and some laughter from those sitting around us. Obviously, I'm pumped!

I think that's about it. I need to get back to chores and completing my "homework" to facilitate tonight's home group. The chapter is on respect. I'm just hoping my questions resonate with the women in the group. We are technically the babies of the group, having only been married for 4.5 years. Everyone else is in their second or third decade of marriage. Bye for now....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Where Do You Put Your Heart To Work?

Lately it seems that the world's brokenness is just so huge, so impossibly big for a 5'1" redhead to change. But like JJ Heller sings about how a cup of cold water can change the world, I keep on giving out cups of cold water and accepting the occasional cup that comes my way to help heal my own brokenness.

This morning I listened from our little den in Canada to my President answer questions. Someone asked him about the sorry state of something or other and asked for the reasons for it's brokenness. Of course, the President said something perfectly acceptable and expected. But inside, I kept thinking, shouldn't he mention that this world is a broken place in need of a Savior, The Savior?

Too many couples to count are being assailed until love begins to fail, hearts grow cold, and the fires of love and commitment die down and threaten to become ash. We watch on the sidelines, and sometimes we are in the horrible game ourselves. It's a fight. A fight to keep love alive. A fight to stay faithful to one's vows made before so much water under a bridge. We alternately cheer the ones we see struggling to keep on fighting, and then we fight to keep our own marriage intact and strong.

Babies are being born with Trisomy 18 and I just ask God how long. How long must mamas have bursting hearts? How long must parents fight for the care they need for their precious wee ones while the doctors and various organizations (social security, etc.) are saying that a disorder is incompatible with life and therefore not worthy of an effort or a fight.

The women and children in the Congo. Forever impacted in their bodies, minds and hearts. How long, Lord? Will You step in? They need rescued.

Those children in families in tin shacks on the side of a mountain in Guatemala who cling to life just as the tin of their home clings to the side of the mountain. Will their lives rush away like the walls of their homes when the rains come unrelenting? Who will come to them and provide even basic clean water and food and shelter? Who will keep them from harm? Who will tell them about a Savior? Who will be their savior?

A young woman forever altered because of medical malpractice seeks to get a normal life back and protect other women from injury. As I (the young woman) research this area to see about help and healing, I uncover story after story of heartbreaking neglect and incompetence. Who will speak up for the helpless? Who will fight an uphill battle against a modern day Goliath?

A doctor well loved in the community discovers he has Parkinson's. The disease is held at bay for a few years, but then it begins to show. What of his faithfulness? Who will be his Healer? He who has worked to be healing hands to so many?

Another doctor watches patients with months and weeks left here on earth and finds that all the important words to say don't often get said. He uses his time and talents and resources to write songs, lullabies actually that will soothe their injured hearts and comfort them as they face death. Who will partner with him to get these songs into every needy hand and every hurting heart?

Those youth on the streets on a Friday night. Looking a little lost despite being in the middle of the herd. Knowing that their home life is a bit of a wreck. Who will come and mentor them? Who will tell them that they were created as masterpieces with a purpose?

The original occupants of our lands, those aboriginals, natives, whatever label the area places on them, what of them? Displaced, addictions enabled, government that seeks to help too little too late after too much damage, high suicide rates, separated from the rest of society where both sides have become unwilling to understand and live together in harmony. Some of us long to reach out, but our color is the first thing they see and it is not at all attractive to them because of the history they carry in their hearts. Where will healing come from?

And I could keep on writing until my fingers were raw and bleeding from typing. So much brokenness. So much hurt.

So what are you doing with your heart and your passion and your resources? Where are you putting them to work? Where is your cup of water going to help change our world? And how in the world can I make my cup of water grow into thousands upon thousands of cups of water?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Car Seat Love

It was time to buy a new carseat for our little guy. We'd had the Graco Safeseat since we brought him home from the hospital, and it was finally coming to within 1" of the height limit for usability. So our search was on. I combed the internet for reviews, reading both American and Canadian*. That led me to three top choices: the Graco My Ride 65, and two from Britax.

We intended to go to a shop called Baby's World on the way home from physical therapy today in Vancouver, get a ton of customer service with expert advisors, and then go save a ton of money by buying it down the road at Baby's-R-Us where you get good pricing but horrid customer service. Well.....

Baby's World is routinely more expensive on the same products I can find in other stores. But this time, they were running a sale on Britax of 20%, plus they were subsidizing over half of the HST. We spent a ton of time there narrowing down our options, and then headed to Baby's-R-Us to check out the Graco model and see their prices.

Less than five minutes in the big box store told us we were NOT giving them our business. Not only did their sale end yesterday, but it was still advertised and when I asked the clerk about it, she took the flyers away and told us the prices we saw on retail would have to do. They were WAY more than Baby's World, and an average of $50 more than their own online prices. And the Graco model sounded better online than it looked in person. So we walked out of there after telling them we were headed back to Baby's World with some smug satisfaction.

Call us crazy, but we are the happy and ecstatic owners of the Britax Advocate CS. I love the pattern, and the way it fits in our tiny little Jetta is amazing. I LOVE the fact that we can raise the shoulder straps with a simple turn of a knob to get an incremental and perfect fit. No more rethreading straps and pulling everything apart!

We're still rear facing, and plan to be until our little guy turns 2. The height limit for rear facing is almost reached though, so we will just keep checking the position of his legs and his comfort level. If the leg room isn't a problem after he turns two, we'll reevaluate then, because research shows how much greater safety is when children are rear facing. While I would love to let him face forward so he could see so much more, the research I've read is more compelling than being able to point out cows on the side of the road.

We plan to use this one until our little guy turns 4 or 5, and then we'll evaluate to see if he's still comfortable. Currently, our plan is to buy the booster with a high back after this one for him to use until he's out of carseats altogether. Of course, there's always the potential advent of another kiddo to make us juggle carseats too, so we're open to the time frame. Right now, we're just enjoying the Lazy Boy of carseats. If only my driver's seat were that comfortable. ;)

Thank you, Government of Canada, for the monthly "gifts" you send us specifically for having a child. Those gifts are the reason we can buy such nice childcare items.

And thank you, Baby's World, for once again offering customer service that rocks the world and makes your customer's days brighter. You guys are amazing. I may not be able to afford most of what you sell, but for big and important items like stroller and carseats, you guys are THE BEST. And I still remember how kind you were to my grandparents when they came to look at Bob.

*Car seats must be purchased in the country you live in for them to be accepted by insurance companies. Even if we bought the same product in the States, our insurance would NOT cover us if we were to be in a wreck. That's just the way it goes.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Prayers for a Family Needed

One of my favorite blogs is by Angie Smith. She has a friend, Adrienne, who also write a special blog. Adrienne and her husband have been on an incredible journey that has led to three adoptions and one biological birth. She gave birth last night to a baby boy named Bennett Isaac at 26 weeks 5 days gestation. You can read about this little man on her blog here. Because he stopped growing a few weeks ago, he's even tinier than the normal almost 27 weeker, and he's really struggling. I would ask you to pray for this family and just to be thinking of them. My only connection with them other than the fact that they live close to my brother is that I once bought Tupperware from one of their adoption sponsors to help them raise money. I don't know them personally, but my heart goes out to them. Please pray. Regardless of what ends up happening today, I know this journey is going to be tough and hard on their hearts. Thanks!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Where Has This Book Been All My Life?

Awhile back, I was on my way to the post office across the border to mail a package of earrings to a little girl who just had her ears pierced. But the line was so long that I knew the post office would be closed before I could even make it across, and no one would let me over into the left lane so that I could escape at the last place possible before going into an area where you HAVE to cross. I was frustrated and tried to figure out what in the world I'd tell the border guard. Truth be told, I'd just come from a pretty emotional meeting where I shared the emotional impact I'm dealing with as a result of the malpractice that caused my traumatic birth injury. So I was already near tears. The whole Canadians not letting me over to go back into Canada and try the border another day only made me even more homesick.

The poor border guard asked the innocent question, "Where are you going and what is the purpose of your trip?"

"Lynden. I'm just homesick."

"Oh, you have family in Lynden?"

"No, they are a couple thousand miles away. But I'm just homesick and need to be in America for awhile. I thought I'd go to Lynden to a bookstore."

"Oh. Well, uh, carry on. Hope you have a better day."

So I drove to Lynden, frustrated that all that waiting kept me from mailing that package and that I'd have to wait another week to mail it. But I kept driving, crying and asking God to do something. I was pretty ticked in reality. Missing the States, frustrated with Canada for a variety of reasons (I do love it most days), I just needed something, anything to encourage me and bring some joy.

For some reason, I wandered down the audio aisle at the bookstore and noticed an audio book called the Heart Mender. I read the back and was intrigued, but put it down since I never have a chance to listen long enough to a book. Besides, I'd decided to buy a cd of music that would speak to me. So I went to the cds and picked out two, trying to decide which one would be the best pick-me-up possible. Then the bargain books caught my eye, but there was nothing there. But over in the corner where the "A's" begin in the fiction section I saw Heart Mender by Andy Andrews. I decided to splurge and took it home.

It wasn't until this past Wednesday that I even had a chance to pick it up. I read the first four chapters during some rare alone time, and was totally hooked. After putting Grasshopper to bed, I couldn't help myself. I picked it up and before I knew it, it was almost 2 in the morning and I was finished with one of the most amazing books I've ever read. For me, it was the perfect book. For it softened my heart and made me open to the possibility of forgiving the midwife and OB who are responsible for altering my health permanently. As I lay there contemplating all the profound messages in this book, I realized some pretty deep things about my own situation. And somewhere inside, the hard shell I've been building these past 18 months got a crack in it. I'm not saying that I don't still have moments (like now) when I'd happily watch those two medical practitioners get a taste of their own medicine, but the Heart Mender opened my eyes to how it may one day be possible to look back and say that I have indeed forgiven them and found freedom from all the anger and hurt that currently weighs be down.

If you like stories that are basically true; if you like stories that build your anticipation and make you laugh and cry and come out a better person, this book is the one for you. I love it. Go read it. The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews. Lord bless that man for seeing a story in a rusty vegetable can. Incredible.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

So Many Ways To Make A Difference

This blog is always quiet on the comments sent to my box, but I know some of you are actually reading. While my current calling seems to be a combination of motherhood and homemaking and advocacy for women with birth injuries, a young woman I know of has another calling. I just thought I'd post one of her videos here for you to watch. It will link you to other related videos and ways to get more information about the Not For Sale campaign. I figure posting it might make someone out there sense a calling on their life for this particular subject. (Again, you'll probably want to go directly to YouTube to watch this. I'm thinking that perhaps my template is cutting the video in half, but don't have time to rectify that today.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Part of My New Calling & Passion

I sit here with a metaphorical hole in my heart and a wondering of when it will be healed. The literal hole that was once a fistula caused by trauma during childbirth looks to have finally been healed, though I won't be out of the woods for some months. But the lingering effects of living with a fistula and dealing with the aftermath of a lack of appropriate, knowledgeable, and timely medical care here in BC have put a great toll on my heart and mind.

I never wanted to be an advocate for other women, but my situation has opened my eyes to the calling and the great responsibility I have to educate women and medical practitioners of so many issues involving childbirth and maternity care. There is so much I would say today, but simply do not have the words that can pierce through my emotions at this moment.

So until I have those words, I want to leave you with two things. First, this idea...."evil triumphs when good people do nothing." Don't be someone who allows evil to triumph. Too many people are willing to agree but then sit and do nothing. Please be somebody who agrees and does something. Even a little something.

And that leads me to my second thing I leave you with, a tiny way to do something. Watch the video, research, look up the terms "obstetric fistula", learn what obstructed labor is and imagine what it would be like to experience that with no medical care (or in my case, with inadequate and inappropriate medical care), and sign the petition or write letters. (For some reason, this isn't wanting to post with the entire picture visible. But if you click on the title in the video box, it will take you directly to YouTube to watch.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

At Long Last.....JOY

Hi everybody! I am full of excitement to share a few things with you.

1. The last thing the surgeon used to help heal the fistula is finally out and I am on the road to healing once and for all. Now I can get back to doing physical therapy to get back in the shape that lets me run and climb!

2. The hospital chose to write off a huge portion of our bill, and so we were able to pay everything in full today. This leaves us enough to cover our expenses for physical therapy this coming year. Thank you for helping me eat this elephant!!!!! You played a huge part in my recovery, and I am so very grateful.

3. I want to write more, but a toddler is systematically undoing all the work I just did cleaning up the place before his daddy arrives. I better run, but will try to pop in again soon and share a few things.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

There's Joy In The Journey, Even When It's Hard

Just wanted to pop in and write here that recovery is happening. So slowly. But the moments when I feel able to focus on life outside of my birth injury are getting a little bit more frequent. I still deal with pain and probably will for several more weeks until the seton is out and things have healed (please God, NO complications). But I'm learning to deal with it.

I have to say though that there is one book that is walking alongside me on this journey in a way no other book could. And I'd recommend it to anyone dealing with health challenges that make one wonder if healing will ever happen. I know, for me, sometimes when the pain is really bad and the wound looks so terrible, I confess that I begin to wonder if healing will happen or even if my life will be taken from me. My birth injury and the resulting chronic infection is not life threatening at this point, but that is still a fear I battle at times when I look at my little boy and long to live forever so that I can always be here for him. And you know what? That's where this book comes in.

It's written by someone who has faced horrific injury that stole her ability to function below her shoulders. But it's also written by someone who has been used mightily for decades now to encourage others, to share with others a beautiful faith in Jesus, and to make tangible differences in the lives of folks with disabilities all over the world. Her name is Joni Earickson Tada, and the book is her memoir called, The God I Love.

She writes with honesty, openness, vulnerability, and she gives hope even when the parts of her story ebb at their lowest points. Truly, she is a person who makes the phrase "beauty out of ashes" totally make sense. Out of the depths of her pain and struggle one sees indescribable beauty formed by Someone who could only be called a Master Creator.

I'm going to be sad when the book is over, for it's been my companion during the often painful process of dealing with daily bodily functions, wound care, and the ever present sitz bath in iodine-laced water. It's a special book, for I'm a melancholy person easily given to throwing lavish pity parties where I can fantasize about all the horrid things I'd like to say to the midwife and OB who caused this, and yet this book stops all of that in me and incredibly turns my focus to gratitude for all that I'm learning through this. Weird but true. I hate what has happened to me, and yet I'm thankful for the suffering that is working to change me and grow me in ways that a non-injured life could not do in me.

The other thing I totally appreciate about this book is that Joni is extremely open about the fact that she didn't suddenly reach a plateau in her suffering that allowed her to be perfectly happy about everything. She's clear that despite the fact her story has changed many lives that she still wrestles with negative thoughts that would seek to creep in and take control of her whole mind and heart.

I needed to hear that. Because one moment I am feeling hopeful or grateful or some other positive trait. And the next I'm ready to wish a horrible death for the midwife, financial and reputation ruin for the OB, and recognition by the whole world that something very wrong happened at that hospital. It's a crazy pendulum to be on. I originally thought that I would stop feeling that way....once the hospital listened to me, once I got surgery, once I got to seek justice, once...and the list goes on. But in almost 16 months I can say that every time I think I've arrived at some inner resolution that another area needing to be resolved becomes apparent. I wrestle with swinging between hopeful patience that one day all will be well and the opposite feeling of despair that nothing will ever be right. When I pick up Joni's book the pendulum swings in a better direction, one toward hope that one day I'll be okay and that I will finally be able to let bitterness and anger and hurt go.

It's a long, arduous, trying journey. And I'm so completely glad to have Joni walking with me. Because that is EXACTLY what she is doing. Legs may not be involved, but she's walking with me nonetheless.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Songs are so important to humans and animals alike. Really.

I asked my friend from church to email me a copy of the songbook we use in prayer group so I could have all the words with me to sing during the time I was going through surgery and recovery here in Missouri. I found myself singing them softly to myself whenever my anxiety would start to climb.

My son has a few songs that immediately calm him and help him fall to sleep, and he has songs he loves to splash and clap to when he's in the tub. He even has a cd of special songs that bring a bit of happiness if he's getting tired of being in the car.

I've been wanting to tell everyone about four songs that are especially written for those facing terminal illness or know that they are in the last chapter of their life. He's a doctor who is well acquainted with people and their questions about how to face the fact that we are all mortal. This guy is really talented and has a heart that is genuine. He has provided these songs in a free download for anyone. I highly recommend at least clicking on the link to listen to them. My favorite is the first one called "Is There Any Hope For Me", but all of them are good. I hope you take the time to be blessed by them. For me, though I knew in my head that this whole saga wasn't "life or death", I also was keenly aware of how fragile life is and did have to face some deeply personal questions and thoughts in this past year.

Anyway, I hope you are blessed by those songs, and I hope you find yourself finding more songs of your own that fill your life with joy and peace.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Surgery & Recovery

I had surgery yesterday morning and was home before noon, wonderfully. As the pain meds have worn off and I've had a chance to see the wound that had to be made to heal me, I am realizing recovery will take more than just a few days. I am black and blue, swollen, and possess a hole not made by God that is equipped with a seton to keep the hole open so infection can continue to drain. I am a little afraid at this point for a variety of reasons, but also a little bit full of hope that at long last healing can come.

The hospital and staff were both wonderfully equipped with comfort and compassion. In fact, it was tempting to move in were it not for the knowledge that it would cost more than your average penthouse suite. We don't yet know how the billing will all work out, but are trusting that it will come together and that we will be able to pay everything off one way or another.

The surgeon has hope that I can have my life back very soon. I'm glad he has hope, because as I figure out what body part is what and see all the black and blue, my hope isn't quite as fixed. The surgeon also is confident that there won't be complications and that the seton can be removed in a couple of months with no further surgery being required. That would be a dream come true. And as I'm living proof that some dreams do indeed come true (I did get to marry the prince of my dreams, well, a lifeguard really), I am going to hope that this dream too will come true in good time.

In related news, the anesthesiologist I had was incredible, and I've decided I'd like to see about keeping her. Not for the drugs, but for the compassion and gentleness she possessed. The nurses were very good and kind, and their personalities were entertaining and made me laugh discreetly at times.

Well, it is time to go attend to myself. Blissfully, my husband is here to care for our son, so I am able to care for just me at long last. The night was not so easy as our son had trouble sleeping since he couldn't nurse with me, so somehow I mothered him last night in the midst of trying to sleep under the influence of pain meds. He was so happy this morning when he could finally nurse. So was I. At least there is one thing I can continue to do for him. But now it is time to take care of me. Bye for now.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On The Subject Of Elephants

If you're on my email list, you already got a note about this, but I wanted to write it here too.

At church on Sunday, some friends gave us a little card shaped like an elephant. Inside it was a check to put toward my surgery expenses. Today, at my post office box in Washington, I found a little envelope with elephants printed across it and a note inside also with elephants. An amazing young woman (who makes me wish I had a single younger brother still) had given us her tithe to put toward my surgical expenses.

As I sat in the car looking at her beautiful penmanship and the check, I asked God if He had something for me. Did He have a theme with these elephants? Was He trying to show me something?

And then it hit me.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

And the elephant that is my expensive medical saga is getting shared for dinner by friends and family who love me and are standing in my corner. I gotta say that elephant eaten with friends is much tastier than elephant eaten alone.

For those of you who are helping carve this elephant up into bite sized pieces, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don't deserve it one bit, but your kindness and love reminds me that God's mercies are new every morning as I continue on this long journey.

***We are heading to the States in early April to meet with a great surgeon and have him operate to repair my fistula from my birth injury. If all goes as planned, my husband will take off one week of work, unpaid. I will remain with my family for longer so that I can recover. Once I am strong and well enough to travel home, our little boy and I will fly back to Canada.

If you feel led to hep out, I've posted a pay pal donation button. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The States, Maybe?

Just a quick note to anyone out there reading that it looks like I'll be paying for a private MRI here in Canada, and then coming to the States to get surgery. It's been nearly 14 months, and no progress has been made in Canada.

Canada rocked for the Olympics, and I love CTV, but the healthcare has huge issues. I love the fact that it's available to everyone at anytime, but the waiting and the lack of accountability is unconscionable.

If anyone is interested in helping me in any way, feel free to go to my profile and send me an email at the address listed.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hokey Dinah, I Recommend This Book!

So I was reading a favorite blog a couple weeks ago, and the writer mentioned Beth Moore's newest book, So Long Insecurity. Now, at the time, I remember thinking, "Duh. I'm not walking into a bookstore to buy something everyone will know is a 'self-help' book, especially one admitting I might be insecure!" And then I laughed at my obvious insecurity at worrying about what strangers would think, and made a mental note to buy it the next time I crossed the border.

And I did. I've only read the first few chapters, but already I can tell you that regardless of your religion, background, occupation, and personality, this book really is a good one. It's hard to read, not in terms of grammar and depth, but in terms of how it squarely meets the mark dead center on so many issues in my own heart. So I find myself protesting, "I'm not that bad! Well, maybe I am, but I can hide it, so surely it's okay to not address!" And then I decided all over again that this is an issue I'm sick of in my own life, and one that I want to address even if it hurts. So then I keep reading.

Anyway, in case any of you would like to stop worrying more about what other people think, being too aware of yourself, feeling insecure, thinking your desires or emotions aren't real or valuable, or anything else that leaves you mildly uncomfortable in your own skin, this book just might be one you'd like.

"So Long, Insecurity" by Beth Moore.....a book that so far is doing a pretty good job exfoliating all that skin I'm not comfortable in.

***(I personally decided to buy it because I know she's coming from a solid perspective that I respect and find to be true Biblically. But even if you're not into Bible stuff, this book is still so totally valuable.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So It's Been A While

I never meant to go this long without writing here. But it's been a few months.

My little Grasshopper has celebrated his first Christmas, and he's had his first birthday. I've celebrated my fourth American Thanksgiving in Canada, and picked up packages for Christmas at my post office box in Washington for the fourth time. Time seems to pass so doggone quickly.

But in other ways, time does NOT pass quickly or efficiently enough.

I am STILL waiting for surgery, only we have now lost confidence in the current surgeon and are hoping to get into the only other fistula surgeon in BC before the first surgeon calls me up for surgery. We are still waiting to hear from the hospital, although we do know that they sent my files to an outside physician for review. My fistula is now symptomatic daily again, and that means I have hit a wall in the physical therapy until the fistula and open wound I live with is taken care of.

So with all that said, I have to be honest and say that this has done a real number on my faith. Once again, I find myself asking God if He exists, if He cares, if He has any power. I told Him (or the ceiling if He doesn't exist after all) that my faith is like my stomach. They are both like wobbling bowls of jelly, too easily shaken at the first sign of difficulty. I thought I was done wrestling with the existence and involvement of God in human affairs after my student teaching in Argentina and a few other traumatic times in my life. After all, I've spent most of this year speaking of my trust in Him despite these awful circumstances. But this past week, hearing my family doctor say that he had broken his promise to refer me to a second surgeon (and one recommended to me by two international fistula surgeons as well as a local radiologist and my physical therapists) because he had a "check", meaning a "check in his spirit". And that made me realize how often I hear God's name get thrown around as reasons for people doing things or not doing things. That left me wondering if I was just mad at all the people who claim to be His followers or if I was mad at Him. Then I started to wonder how many things are really His doing or really just circumstances. And before I knew it, I was plunged into a despairing cycle of hopelessness. (This was further complicated by the news that our friends who moved from South Africa specifically to partner with us in our outdoor business/ministry have suddenly decided to probably take another job at a camp instead of working with us. And of course, the excuse given was "God's leading".)

But I will admit that though I can't say that I'm firm on my beliefs about God and His existence or involvement in my life at this point in time, I can say that I have had the most interesting dreams about things while I've slept. That's unusual for me, and I can't help but wonder if He isn't sending me those dreams to reassure me - His temper tantrum throwing child - of His reality and care. All I can say is that I sure hope so.

And I hope that somehow, somewhere, sometime soon, someone operates on my fistula and fixes it perfectly once and for all. No excuses. No mistakes. No more limits on my life. I want to know what it means to run and exercise, to swim and climb, to love my husband, to have the possibility of another child one day, and to have a healthy body once again. It's been so long.

But the thing I want most, or maybe this comes in tied with my longing for physical wholeness......I want to know that I know that I know that I know that God is real and that He cares about me. No more wavering. No more anger.

Of course, none of this is possible on my own. And to be honest, I'm pretty sure a miracle or two is going to be necessary.

As for writing, I will try to keep it up. It's just a little hard with a wee one hanging on me and trying to type his own posts. =)