Monthly Archives: May 2010
Quite a lofty-sounding title for a bullet-point summary of things, lately.
- My sweet friend Annie had her baby yesterday afternoon. She was 10 days past her due date. As she had been having prodromal labor with back labor for about 48 hours, contracting every 10-30 minutes. I had a similar situation with my first (though as he was 2 weeks early, I didn’t realize it was “real” labor). This absolutely exhausted her, so she agreed to be induced on Wednesday night. However, as the hospital delayed in calling her in, she actually went spontaneously into labor on her own, so by the time she got to the hospital at about 3 a.m. on Thursday morning, she’d been having steady contractions — down to 2-3 minutes apart — for five hours. But, as she had not really slept at all for three nights, and had been having back/prodromal labor for 50+ hours, I had compassion on her desire to have an epidural — when in labor with my first, I could handle the contractions, but my back hurt SO BADLY that I very nearly got anesthesia just because of that. Annie herself had intended to have a natural delivery, and I was *SO* excited to take part in that, but, ah well. Even though she ended up with a epidural (and pitocin), her Bishop’s Score was 10, so I was confident that labor was going to progress well. Labor did slow down once the meds were administered. She was “stuck” at 4 cm for about 5 1/2 hours. Then, the doctor broke her water, which, again, I’m normally not a fan of. But, it was what she needed, due to the circumstances. She dilated the remaining 6 cm in less than 3 hours, and 3 1/2 hours after the AROM, she had a baby!! She pushed like a champ (she had quite a bit of mobility and sensation, even with the epidural); it took about 10 pushes and less than 30 minutes to deliver her 8 lb 1 oz baby boy, just shy of 12 hours after arriving in the hospital. Minus the first 30 minutes or so, I was there with her the whole time, and felt very privileged to be present. I was SO PUMPED after the baby was born… (BTW, neither my first son, nor Annie’s baby boy were posterior, which is frequently the cause of back labor.)
- A friend and brother in Christ lost his mother a few days ago. She was a member of our church, too. She had suffered a long, disabling illness… Hearing reports from our friend about the time of death, and some visions he had in the middle of the night of his mom with Jesus… it’s hard to describe how his words have impacted me. There was a lot of peace and beauty, and my heart swells to think of her worshiping Jesus, free and strong in His presence.
- Today is the last day of school for my kids for the summer. I am looking forward to a number of projects, including cleaning out every corner of every room in the house, as if we were moving, though we have no plans to. Having been in this house for nearly five years, there are some things that have just piled up, and become very disorderly. I realized that, prior to this home, our family’s moving every 2-3 years was an involuntary purging that was actually quite valuable! So, now I feel a GREAT NEED to do a voluntary purging.
- I just ordered my first book of the prerequisite reading for becoming a DONA doula, unsurprisingly entitled The Doula Book. I also revisited the DONA website for an overview of all the requirements to become a doula. The process is more involved than I had remembered. I was thinking I needed simply to read 4-5 books and attend one weekend workshop, then attend/observe a few births, and take a certification test… turns out there’s more to it than that. I’m not as concerned about the time involved; if it takes me an additional 6 months or even a year to become certified, I’m OK with that. I am, though, rather worried about the cost; it’s going to end up being several hundred dollars more than I realized…. though I guess if that’s spread out over an additional year, it won’t be such a drain on our tight budget. 🙂
- Last night was the best Little League game I’ve ever seen. It was so exciting! Of course, I probably wouldn’t feel nearly as happy about it if my son’s team would have lost… It was the 2nd game in a double-elimination playoff. Ethan’s team was seeded 2nd of 8 teams. We played the 3rd seed last night, after both of the teams had won their first playoff game. Our team, the Diamondbacks, led 1-0, then the other team, the Cubs, rallied and scored two, so that they led, coming into the bottom of the 6th and final inning. My son Ethan, who actually has had a very tough year, came up to bat with two outs and nobody on. He faced a pitcher who threw three straight balls. The opposing coach switched pitchers, and the new pitcher threw his first pitch, which was also a ball: Ethan walked. He stole 2nd. Then, his teammate who was at the plate got a hit, which advanced Ethan to 3rd. So, runners on first & third, two outs. The next batter faced THREE pitchers, as the Cubs’ coach kept pulling his pitchers as soon as they threw a ball. The pitcher threw a pitch — it was a ball, a wild pitch. As the catcher scrambled for the ball, the pitcher ran up to cover home plate. Ethan ran like crazy, executed a perfect slide, and when the cloud of dust cleared, the umpire signaled that he was safe, scoring the tying run. Everyone erupted in whoops and hollers and Ethan got a lot of thwacks on his helmet for a job well done, and had a grin a mile wide. After that, the batter struck out, inning over. Normally, Little League games end at a maximum of six innings, even if there is a tie. But, I guess during playoffs, they go into extra innings. We got three quick outs on the Cubs in the top of the 7th. In the bottom, we got two boys on, first and third, with no outs. Our best hitter came up to bat, and the opposing coach decided to intentionally walk him, which I don’t recall ever seeing in Little League. However, on what would have been ball 4, the batter rrreeeeeeeached way out over the plate and just made contact with the ball, which plunked it into shallow center. The ball was caught for an out by the center fielder. However, our guy on third — who, incidentally, was at the very bottom of the order and had a stellar hit himself to even GET himself on base — tagged up and scored in another crazy, dust-cloud-obscured play at the plate. The ump declared him safe which scored the winning run. Everyone erupted into even greater cheers, and the players all mobbed the boy who scored the winning run… My throat ached from cheering. It was sweet. What was all the more remarkable to me was that it truly was a team effort, and that when our star pitcher was unable to keep the other team from scoring (a mere two runs, but still, enough so that we were losing), it was the bottom of the order — the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th batters who contributed significantly towards the win, with Ethan being the 9th in the order. (There are actually 13 guys on the team, but one player wasn’t there for some reason.) In Little League, the coach can play any player at any position in any inning — though pitchers have to pitch consecutive innings and cannot return to the mound once they leave — and though he can limit the players’ time defensively, and bench players for 2 or 3 innings (Ethan himself only played 4 of the 7 innings, defensively), all the batters bat all the way through the order. The “star” players did really well, but it thrilled my heart that the not-so-stellar players, my son included, were genuinely significant in the win.
- In semi-related news, throughout the regular 22-game season, Ethan’s coach kept a clear plastic jar in the dugout, and when a player made a fabulous play, Coach would write the boy’s name and a note about what he did. Many of the boys had 4, 5, 6 clothespins in there. Ethan had ONE. One. For a 2-RBI hit in a clutch situation. After the last practice, Coach pulled clothespins out to award various prizes. All of them were nice: most were autographed sports memorabilia. But the biggest prize was an iPod Touch, which had been donated by one of the team’s sponsors. Well… guess who won the iPod Touch??? Mmhm. So cool. One of the other parents whispered to my husband, “I was praying that Ethan would win that!!!” Ethan is the sort of boy you root for, even when he doesn’t do great. He has a great attitude, and he tries hard. Of course, I’m biased. 😉 Ethan said, “My iPod is the most advanced piece of technology in our whole house.” I think he’s right.
My daughter Fiala is now 19 months, and we’re going backwards… I started decreasing her already super-simple diet, because she’s still having
problems, both digestive and skin. I keep hearing my friend-the-doctor say, “No one is allergic to potatoes,” but I took her off of potatoes about 5 days ago, and her skin is the clearest it’s looked in months. (She doesn’t just get eczema, she gets lesion patches on her face — it’s awful, because then we
have to fight so hard to keep them from getting infected, or dealing with
rounds of antibiotics when they do get infected.)
The bummer about potatoes is that it was the ONE “normal” carb that she
was — I thought — able to tolerate. Potatoes are very portable, too, in all their various forms, which is very handy to be able to bring chips or french fries on the road, in a pinch. AND, the bread I had been making 3-4 times a week for the last… three months or so has potato starch in it, so I stopped making bread, and have returned to farinata.
She can have buckwheat, quinoa, and oats. She can have lamb and turkey. She can have quite a variety of veggies (almost all in the mustard family — includes broccoli & cauli). The only fruits I’m confident she can have are dates, blueberries, and cranberries. She does alright with most beans, especially garbanzos and black beans. That’s about it. She can have a few herbs, but I’m hesitant to try ANYTHING new, no matter how seemingly insignificant it might be. Making dinner is like, “I wonder if she can tolerate sage??” It seems like everything, no matter how tiny, can set her off into tummy upset (she even tells us now, “Ouchy poop!” ) or super-itchy, bloody skin lesions.
I keep trialling things that I think are simple — like apples, pears, chicken… sometimes, it seems she tolerates stuff, and sometimes not. Like right now, I’ve been trying apples for the last couple of weeks — diluted plain apple juice in the morning, unsweetened apple sauce, fresh apple chunks. It appears that she might be all right with apples, because her skin continues to clear… so it seems that potatoes are the culprit, not the fairly new-to-her-diet apples. It is very confusing at times, because even though her diet is so simple, our thoughts are, “Is she reacting to the pear she had this morning? Or the chicken she had yesterday? Or is it something different altogether??”
No corn (which would be SO helpful!), no wheat/rye/barley, no rice…
We’re actually rather without a doctor, because our family doctor dropped us when I decided to stop vaccinating, and I’m hesitant to call my friend
who is a doctor (in another state) because she said so decisively, “NO ONE is allergic to potatoes!” She has asked me many times to “just” feed her more food, but if we do, we pay the price!!! I’m not trying to rebel against her advice, but it’s simple to command, “Try this food! Feed her some more! She just needs a more well-rounded diet!” yet it’s not easy — at all — for us to carry out those simple instructions. Tears, “sad skin,” “ouchy poop,” sadness, confusion, and frustration all the way around… I’m not TRYING to “go it alone” — I would so relish insightful, caring, directive, helpful advice from a doctor, but I really feel alone in her care right now.
My husband has been encouraging me to scale back Fiala’s diet, down to the simplest few things that we know are safe. I prioritize his wisdom and and advice, but at the back of my mind, I know it’s in conflict with the medical advice I’ve been given regarding our sweet daughter, and that’s hard.
I do feel, on one hand, VERY encouraged about her positive response to removing potatoes, but removing them has some pretty serious ramifications, and makes her even more difficult to feed, and that is discouraging.
On the other hand, she is such an absolutely delightful little girl. She’s a joy. Overall, she has a very happy, peaceful personality, and she loves to giggle and play. She is a blessing to everyone in our family. She is sweet. Her eyes are so big and round and grey and beautiful. She can be very determined, but she’s not stubbornly willful like three of my four other children, which is a blessing to The Mom. She learns quickly. She is so cute! Even the way she runs is cute. She’s solid — not quite chunky, but definitely thicker than Audrey ever was. She’s ever hopeful. She’ll ask about something, nodding her head emphatically as she speaks her word or two, willing the other person to say, “Yes, sweet Fiala.” She is quite brave and daring. She loves slides and swings. Everyone in our family adores her, no one ever tires of her company… she is absolutely refreshing. Precious girl.
I haven’t blogged much lately. I have lots to say (probably too much!), but not the time in which to do it. Part of me thinks, “But summer’s almost here!” yet I don’t want my summer to slide by, and the best I can say of it be, “Well, I got a lot of blogging done!” Ack. So, we’ll see. I already have way too much on my to-do list for summer.
I am days away from finishing a book which I am ghost-writing for a friend, which I’ve been working on since early February. “For a friend”, yes, but she’s paying me, which has been lovely. I have tithed, and socked the rest of it away for our family vacation, and, hopefully, to go to my sister’s when her baby is born, VERY hopefully to be there for the birth itself.
Speaking of birth, I am also eagerly anticipating the arrival of a friend’s baby. She was my acquaintance, but as I’ve spent a good amount of time with her in the last five weeks or so, I’m so pleased to say she’s now my friend. Her mother — who was a midwife — died when she was a little girl, and she was hoping for someone to step in and doula/be a labor coach. Our mutual friend connected us, and I have been so delighted to share with her both my knowledge, and my excitement. I think that has been the best thing: taking her concerns and turning them into joys, imparting hope, bringing encouragement and peace… We’ve talked on the phone, e-mailed, texted, visited at church, I’ve gone to a doctor’s appointment with her, we got to go out to lunch… It’s really been a lovely, lovely time. Now, her baby is seven days past his EDD, and I’m encouraging her to hang in there! Audrey was eight days “late” and I will freely admit that was the longest eight days of my life. It really looks, though, like the baby might make his appearance tonight or tomorrow, as it appears that my friend is in prodromal labor.
Frankly, I am interested in too many things. It has been like that my whole life. Jack of all trades, in a way, and master of absolutely none of them. However, more and more clearly, I am honing my interest and time-spent in becoming more involved with birthing. I’d love to become a midwife, the prospect of which — though it would involve years of training — seems thrilling to me, not daunting. (I am easily daunted, especially by long tasks.) I’m not sure exactly what path that would take, but I’m pretty sure that I’m going to start by becoming certified to be a doula, and my goal for that is to complete my studies by the end of this calendar year. From there? Who knows. However, I LOVE birthing, and I love how God is such a wonderfully complex God that He made the process endlessly interesting, and that there is ALWAYS more to learn, and I love learning every bit about it that I can.
Until I can do a “real” blog entry (though this ended up longer that I had anticipated, and might actually qualify for a real entry!), please read these:
- My friend Erin used to blog semi-regularly, then pretty much stopped. The last couple of weeks, she has been regularly blogging about her baby, Abigail, which has been such fun to read. Erin’s a great writer, and Abi is so sweet and absolutely lovely, and I love seeing Erin be a mother.
- My friend Lisa wrote a great post, contrasting AA meetings with church, and, frankly, found church lacking in the support and transparency that she saw in the meeting. Real food for thought.
- My favorite birthing blog, Stand & Deliver, recently had a writing contest (which I did not enter) about being transformed by motherhood and/or birthing. The winning entry was — oddly enough — very little about either, but about the process that led her there. I found it a WONDERFUL read. Wonderful. Thoughtful, honest, intelligent, insightful, yet trusting the reader to make her own inferences… I immediately put the author, who has her own blog, into my blog reader…
- My friend Nicole has a new blog, Modern Reject, which she is ambitiously filling with daily, meaty, honest, often humorous posts. Very worthwhile.
How I love to plan family trips. I love finding just the right spot to accommodate our family’s desires and needs, and I can instantly imagine how greatly everyone will love our time there. I love all the preparation that goes into making a memorable trip.
One thing, though, that I DON’T like, is feeling pressured because of time. Ugh. I hate doing things last-minute. I wish I could say that I delighted in being a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of gal, but I’m not. Especially now, as we have five children, and a multitude of various health and/or dietary needs and restrictions, we can’t just hit the road on a wing and a prayer. Well, we do hit the road with a prayer.
My husband, though, is not such the planner. It stresses him out thinking too far out in advance, because then he has all these future plans in his head, jostling for attention and priority. He’d rather have a one-thing-at-a-time kind of pace to life. I appreciate that most of the time; I love having a low-pressure kind of life. However, when most of our trips involve camping or low-cost US Forest Service cabins, and most everyone does their planning for the summer in January or February (if not before), when we get to the spot in time where my hubby feels comfortable making plans and committing to them, the places where we’d like to go and/or the dates that we’d prefer to travel, are consistently all taken. Ugh.
This year, I approached him with my top two locales:
- The California coast — the Big Sur area or further north
His preference was:
Now, I have absolutely nothing against Colorado. I love it there. However, we went in ’06 and ’07, and I like going to new places. It seems to me like it’s not Colorado’s turn.
However, he really didn’t want to go to Yellowstone — too far. He politely listened to my descriptions of various central-to-northern California locations, and it looked like that would be our likely destination. However, we were stuck with mid-September, if we wanted to go anywhere and be able to have a reservation. There are a number of campgrounds in the Big Sur area, and one MIGHT be able to arrive on a Sunday or Monday and have a fair shot at a place to stay. However, it makes me nervous to think about having to FIND a spot after a long day’s travel with five kids in the back of the vehicle, and either not finding a camping spot, or having it be really not ideal, but then being stuck there, because who wants to set up camp in one location, then change locations the next day? Not my hubby, and I don’t blame him; it’s quite a fiasco.
Plus, my REAL desire is to go to Limekiln State Park, which I fell in love with four or five years ago (via online information — not real life; I’ve never been there). You camp right alongside a creek, surrounded by redwoods. The trailhead to a family-friendly hike is on site. It’s smaller and more “primitive” than many campgrounds in the area, which suits us just fine. And, it is just a few hundred feet (UNDER the Pacific Coast Hwy) from its own private cove. PERFECT.
However, a portion of the campground burnt in late 2008, and the park was closed. It’s still not re-opened.
In a way, I feel like any place we stay in lieu of Limekiln State Park is second-best, even though there are quite a number of fabulous alternate locations. Know what I mean? My heart is set.
So, when it looked like the California idea was not going to pan out, I decided to look into Colorado. I had the idea that, if we go to Colorado this year, perhaps my hubby may agree to go to California next year, and agree to me reserving a spot in January or February (as most places will accept reservations up to six months in advance). That way, we could get the location and the dates that we really want. And, I hope Limekiln is open by then; I’ve left a message on the number provided by the state’s official Limekiln State Park page, asking about re-opening dates.
My husband’s brother, Adam, (who has, in two separate stints, lived with us for a total of about a year and a half) lives in Pagosa Springs. His half-brother lives in Denver. My uncle and his family live in Colorado Springs. So, I figured if I could find a spot to the northeast of Pagosa, we could easily spend time with Adam, and take day trips (or perhaps overnight trips) to see our other family members, as well.
I’m not telling you yet where it is — both for privacy purposes, and because we’ve not yet booked our dates, but… drink in this little cottage:
For $50/night (the same price as a creekside camping spot in Pfeiffer Big Sur State park), this sweet cabin sleeps seven, was built in 1910, recently updated bathroom and kitchen, has hot and cold running water, electricity (with a fridge in the kitchen, no less!), beautiful hardwood floors, a wood-burning stove, it’s at 8400′ elevation, has a fishable creek on the property, and is off the beaten path, in the National Forest.
I sent pics to my hubby, and told him about it, and he said, “NOW you’re speaking my language!!” Precious man. I really want to go to the ocean, but I want him to greatly enjoy our trip, too!! And, I think that going to Colorado this year, but planning for California next year, is a good compromise. And, actually, having such an ideal spot doesn’t feel like a compromise, though, since I haven’t been there in eight years, I do still hear the ocean calling…
Aargh! I had a post all written, and it got eaten. WordPress was acting strangely, and I had a suspicion, so I did a “copy” of the whole text, but then, unthinkingly, I did a copy-and-paste in an e-mail document after that… so I lost it. Ugh.
I had written about making homemade mayo; my sick baby; traveling to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park yesterday with my sweet friend Allison, who also homeschools, and all of our children; my opposition to Prop 100, which would raise the state sales tax a penny, and, sort-of related, who I’ll likely vote for in the Republican primary for governor.
Now, I just can’t get my heart into re-writing all of it.
A friend recently asked for suggestions of what might be a good read… I offered a few titles. Yesterday, I glanced over at one of my bookcases, and saw Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River, and thought, “How could I have forgotten that?? I’ll have to tell her about that one tonight. Wait a minute. I’m going to see her at kinship. I can bring it to her! Oh, and that one. And that one.” So, in addition to my guitar, Bible, music stand, and purse, I lugged in a selection of five books from Karen’s Library: Peace Like a River, Pride and Prejudice, The Silver Chalice*, Life of Pi, and The Joke**.
I recommend all to you, too. Peace should definitely be your first read, if you have not yet drunk from its deep draughts of Good Art + Good Message.
This week, I completed Wings of Fire, by the mother and son team whose pen name is Charles Todd. I’m always up for a good, clean, compelling, historical mystery set in England. 🙂 My favorite author of such books, though, is Dorothy L. Sayers, and I can’t help but compare to her, when I’m reading in that genre, and every one comes up lacking. Sorry, Inspector Rutledge. You’re just not Peter Wimsey. Still. I had read a stellar review of the most recent in the eleven-book series, The Red Door, and I decided that, rather than pick it up midstream, I’d begin at the beginning. However, I didn’t do my research right — or something — and put Wings of Fire on hold at my library. It wasn’t until I lent it to my mother, yet unread, that I discovered that the book is the second in the series; A Test of Wills is first. I enjoyed it enough that I will likely, eventually, read the whole series, but I wasn’t so enthralled that it’s on my MUST READ NOW list.
Right now, I’m reading Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom. It’s the “assignment” for a book club I’m in. It is the best book club ever — filled with sharp, insightful, Godly women whom I absolutely adore. We meet every other month. I haven’t read enough of Faith to formulate an opinion on it, one way or another. It’s a true story, in which the author gains respect for the rabbi of his youth and, apparently, a Baptist guy, too… I guess my fear is that the author’s intentions are going to be too politically correct for my taste, a là the stinkin’ “coexist” bumper stickers that makes me want to chuck eggs at the car, every time I see one. (Not really. I’m nicer than that. But, I do roll my eyes and shake my head. I mean, I rather understand the sentiment of being at peace with all men. However, I DO NOT think all religions are equal and that everyone needs to just accept the beliefs of everyone else as valid. I truly believe that Jesus is the only Way.) If nothing else, Faith seems like it’s going to be a well-written, nicely-unfolded story, and maybe I need to learn from it. 😉 )
I have also started reading The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing, edited by Kevin Young. It sounds morbid, and, well, it is, as it’s about dying. However, I heard a fabulous interview on NPR with the compiler, who is a poet in his own right, and felt very compelled to go out and get the book NOW. Indeed, I immediately placed it on my hold list at the library, and was very pleased when it became available. In the interview, Young read a number of the poems, most of which were written in the 20th century. My reaction?? “I laughed! I cried!” all within the seven-minute segment. Most of the poems are, of their nature, somber. But, the ones that he read — and most of the ones I’ve read so far — are intensely beautiful and… poignant, though “poignant” doesn’t seem nearly powerful enough, and impacted me in such a way to make me sharply draw in my breath, or to make my heart beat hard with recognition or… sympathy, though, again, “sympathy” doesn’t seem quite the right word, either. Young mentioned how the best poems capture an emotion, a particular, fleeting moment… I hadn’t really thought of that before, and I think he may have convinced me.
A book which I am THOROUGHLY enjoying is Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers, by Ralph Moody. It is the true account of the author and his four siblings and parents moving to a ranch outside of Denver in 1906 when he was eight years old. Told in a somewhat understated, wry voice, with great honesty and humor, it’s been a while since a book gave me such joy. The book is actually assigned to two of my boys as a read-aloud (meaning, I read it to them) in our homeschool curriculum. However, time is at a premium right now, and a friend recommended getting it as an audio book. Duh. My library did not have it on CD, but it was available for a free download, which they allow patrons to copy to CD. My enjoyment is only heightened by the voice of the reader, Cameron Beierle, who sounds exactly like my Uncle Kevin. My only dilemma in hearing the book is that it makes me rather wistful — or something — because I find myself wishing that my own boys’ approach to life was more akin to young Ralph Moody’s.
Lastly, of note, I have also checked out The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook. I have only flipped through the thick tome, but it appears to be the most amazing compendium of info and recipes on cooking with natural ingredients. Though it makes no mention of those who can’t eat wheat — which I found surprising, as many natural foods cookbooks do at least acknowledge celiac disease — it does have a section on baking with non-wheat flours, and a great many recipes have no gluten/flour in them at all. In the section on non-wheat flours, it suggested that adding lemon juice to the dough would help it rise better, as the acid breaks down the proteins in the flour. With great hope, I tried that this morning. Alas, no big puffy loaves appeared from my oven — just the gently rounded variety that it appears I’m going to have to accept. Still. The book is giant, and I look forward to both reading it and trying its many recipes.
*Recently re-issued! I have a nice, old hardcover, though, and many are available on Amazon for $0.01 plus shipping. I heart hardcover books. 🙂
**Originally written in Czech, with several “unauthorized” translations before the 1993 “Definitive Version.” Make sure yours is the 1993 translation.
Couldn’t you, Diamondbacks, have won one for me??? No??? ~sigh~ I love you anyways, and the boys and I still had great fun.
Recently, I felt like I should read the book of Micah. I wasn’t sure why — I’m still not totally sure — but I figured that even if the Holy Spirit was not specifically directing me to, it’s still the Word of God, from which I may glean His truth and become better-acquainted with His voice and His way.
This morning, though, as I sat down to journal about the passages that had stuck out to me, I saw a bit of a pattern.
In chapter 3, verses 5-8, the nation of Israel was going astray, even her government and most of her prophets. But, Micah says in verse 8,
“On the other hand, I am filled with power — with the Spirit of the Lord — and with justice and courage to make known to Jacob his rebellious act, even to Israel in his sin.”
I felt like God was saying to me that even when the government goes astray, true prophets can speak to the heart of the people. In other words, even in times like these — ESPECIALLY in times like these — it’s important for the Church at large, and for those individuals who are seeking His heart, to keep an ear out for what He’s saying. A Godly government is important, but God will still make Himself know to His own, even when the people at large and the leadership — even some of the spiritual leadership — aren’t letting themselves be led by Him.
Indeed, in 4:5, it says,
“Though all the people walk each in the name of his god, as for us, we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.”
That brought to my memory, being a child, and my mother telling me countless times, “I don’t care what so-and-so’s mother lets her do, you may not.” At the time, it seemed logical that if the majority could (especially if the majority included my best friend, the pastor’s daughter*) it followed that I should be able to, as well. But, the majority is not what governed my mother’s decisions for me (nor I, now, for my own children), and that’s not how God leads His own.
Here and elsewhere in Micah, God is repeatedly calling out to the remnant, to the minority, to set themselves apart fully unto Him, and to be gathered by Him, unto Him.
Micah 6:6-8 describes how the heart of God is not that we should apologize prolifically; He’d rather we do right in the first place.
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (emphasis mine)
Typically, in these days, Republicans are good at justice, and Democrats at mercy. Our God has 100% of both. He has the justice, in which He commands me to act. He has the mercy, which He loves and calls me to love, too. And in my justice and mercy, he calls me to walk humbly.
He is the anti-grandstanding, anti-polarization God.
My salvation does not come from my political party, nor from the governors of my state or country. My God is my God, and He is my salvation — not just the salvation that translated me from death into life, but in my every minute, in my every need.
Micah 7:7-8 reads:
But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall, I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.”
And, no, I don’t think God is calling me into detachment from the affairs of the world. I think Godly men and women are vital to the process of American government at every level. But, I find myself less willing to say, “Oh, yes! I wholeheartedly support…” or, “I am completely disgusted by…” one political notion or another.
Do I support immigration reform, and specifically the Arizona Senate Bill 1070 which has brought the nation to an uproar, with my Facebook friends right and left joining one group or another, for or against, inviting me to do similarly?? I don’t know. Our nation is a nation of immigrants, and the more I study American history, the more I’m struck with how greatly we have struggled — from at least the 1840s onward — with the “oldcomers” vs the “newcomers.” It’s a scene that has played and replayed repeatedly throughout the course of our history, and seeing history now repeating itself for the umpteenth time, I find myself loathe to close the door on immigrants.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
I do think that this is what America should be about!! And, I find myself unwilling to resent anyone who comes to America — even illegally — yearning for a better life. Wouldn’t YOU struggle across a desert or row for miles in a tiny rowboat if you had even a slim chance at keeping your family from starvation and political persecution?? I would.
On the other hand, I know that there are a number of very sound, just arguments against illegal immigration. (Although I am less swayed by the ones that are economically-based, as most immigrants are extremely hard-working and for the last couple of centuries have willingly thrown themselves into the grunt-work that we “oldcomers” are less willing to do, and generally GIVE into the economy much more than they extract.)
Yet, the law is the law, and once it is established, I also find myself unwilling to think unkindly towards sheriffs who do their darndest to get folks to obey the law!! I’m not a giant fan of Sheriff Arpaio, and I sure hope he does not run for governor, because I think he would make an AWFUL governor. However, I think he is profoundly effective as a sheriff, though his own grandstanding and publicity-seeking grates on me.
I think similarly towards our President. I am not a fan. However, I find myself challenging even my own criticisms of him, because, all cynicism aside, I do think he is doing what he thinks is right for our country at large, and for its individual citizens. I think that perhaps he sees himself as a Teddy Roosevelt/savior-of-the-downtrodden type. And, though I don’t agree with his methods, and I don’t agree with 98% of his apparent beliefs and theories, it’s hard for me to hate him, as I think his heart may truly be in the right place — or at least, he’s attempting for it to be there: he’s trying to make things right for the overlooked. Personally, I think that’s the job of the Church, not the government, but if the Church isn’t doing its job, but relegating it to the government with a huge sigh of relief… well, what’s a President to do????
*How I love you, Lori!!
- My mom has been ill. After five days in the hospital (week before last), she told the doctors, “I will be going home at 6 p.m. tonight. You have 12 hours to do whatever it is you need to do.” She’s very stubborn. I could write reams about my concerns about my dear mother, but it all boils down to this: She does way too much, which is terribly hard on her body, but keeps her mentally sane and emotionally balanced. ~sigh~ The tables are indeed turned, with me checking in to see if she called the doctor on this, or the insurance company about that, and chastising her for turning down her portable oxygen tank to 3 lpm instead of 4, even though it “lasts longer” that way. ~heavy sigh~
- My hubby and I went on a date night on Saturday, which was cut short by us rescuing a doggie. Big ol’ guy — 60 lbs at least — with short legs and a bully chest… maybe an English Bulldog/Lab mix. Or, Mastiff + Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Dunno. He came right up to our truck, loved on us, rolled on his back and let us rub his tummy, gratefully ate the food we got at PetsMart for him, willingly submitted to a much-needed bath at home. I quickly jumped onto the lost & found listings on Craigslist, and submitted a report on http://www.pets911.com, and trolled the last 4 months of lost dog reports. However, I secretly hoped, those first few hours, that we wouldn’t find the owner, because I wanted to keep him forever, and had warm and affectionate feelings for his chocolate brindle messy self. Until he attacked our dog. Golly, my priorities, upon the really frightening event of breaking up the two dogs in our family room, which left mom and five children all shaking and crying, were really solidified: New dog — danger to our family dog, and potential danger to any small child wandering in/nearby a dog fight — is out the door. 😦 On Monday, after an hour of driving around the neighborhoods in about a mile radius from where we found him, I took him to the pound. They keep him for “a minimum of 72 hours” and assess his adoptability, at which point they either euthanize him, or put him up for adoption. 😦 😦 😦 It’s still heavy on my heart, and it has me wondering why God appointed that responsibility to us, and if we did the right thing.
- Sort of related to the first thing up there, I find myself REALLY wanting to be in a house into which we could invite my mom & stepdad to live. I’ve already talked with my stepdad about it (a while ago, after another medical scare from my mom), and he does want to live with us should my Mom pass… That was both a hard and a beautiful conversation. Joe has only been my “Dad” for 12 years; I was already married and with my first child when he and my mom got married. However, I love him dearly, and he is the most involved grandfather my children have (though my “real” dad and my hubby’s dad do love our kids, and they do see them regularly), and it KILLS ME to think of him on his own, after my mom dies. My hubby and I have talked a bit about selling this home and buying one more appropriately outfitted for a “guest,” but, obviously, this is a BAD AWFUL time to be putting a house on the market, and it would really, really, really have to be OF GOD for it to happen. So, I’m praying.