Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Thanksgiving Story

This is a story of thanksgiving.

In July of last year at a huge conference a friend of mine prayed a prayer of faith that one day we would have a baby. We had been married for 10 years and had tried with no success before. 4 weeks later I peed on a stick and got 2 pink lines.

A year ago this week my body began trying to miscarry the baby. I was 4 months pregnant at the time, still in Australia with our tickets purchased to come home in December to have the baby the following spring. I didn't know what was happening and nearly convinced myself that it must be fine and normal. Something was wrong, I just knew it in my spirit, I called the Dr. They got me in right away and let me listen to her heartbeat. What a relief. She sent me on my way with orders to take it easy and keep watch. So I did. I got a call from her a couple hours later saying I needed to come for an ultrasound. As the ultrasound tech did her job, I could see the concern on her face. She left the room quickly and returned with a man in a lab coat. They asked me if there was someone they could call for me. I didn't understand. "Is there someone nearby we can call to come and be with you?" she said. I told her my husband was just right up the road and that I would be glad to go get him. We only had one car, Miss Bianca. She said emphatically "No no honey, you need to lie flat." She proceeded to explain to me why. That my body with its misshapen uterus was trying to let the baby out. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was sinking in. This baby that was a gift might be taken away.

Brooks came as quick as he could and the decision was made to take me by ambulance to the hospital. There was a lot of wheeling and covering with blankets and changing of gurneys, paperwork, name tags, wrist bands for allergies and the like. Bypassing all the desks I was taken straight to the labor ward and laid on a bed that was tilted with my head down to the ground. Literally keeping this baby in by gravity. The surgeon whom I had never met came in and gave me an IV and some important medicines. He was polish and barely understandable. The decision was made to have surgery first thing the next morning, a Saturday. That night alone in the dark room, amped on meds, having just received word of how much money we were going to have to front and the looming question of our baby's survival - I wept - so very alone in one moment and in the next so comforted and held by God. "Hold me" being the only words I could muster. Only Him and His truth to trust and cling to.

First thing the next morning I was taken to surgery with my Polish doctor, 1 asian anesthesiologist, and 2 Aussie nurses. It was full on surrender. These people I could barely understand were about to put me out and do stuff to my body. I just had to trust and pray.

I came out of the surgery fine. Lots of pain but everything went well, the baby was healthy. Brooks was right by my side helping me through all the way. Now I had a week and a half to recover and get packed to make the long journey home. Letting me fly home became the big question. I got the answer I wanted.

On December first we flew over the Pacific, the Rocky Mountains and plains of Kansas as I sang "America the Beautiful." My patriotic heart was bursting with pride and joy. The first sight of our parents and those first hugs in the airport are ones not easily forgettable.

The remainder of the pregnancy was taking it easy, laying or sitting around to keep from having too many contractions. Keep that baby in there. Cook a little bit longer.

She came on April 14th of this year as another bit of a surprise. She is a "dandy" as her Grandma rightly puts it.

In a couple of weeks we will gather around our tables and eat great food together to give thanks. This year I know that...
God is good. He is faithful. He saw me through. He held me.
I couldn't see how but I trusted that He could see something else and I am thankful.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
pieces of Psalm 46

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Father Knows Best

I have a certain friend who says "There is no better way to cultivate joy than to live life a grateful person."

We moved back to the US after our stint in Australia and found life to be less than what we anticipated or expected. Apparently I had the notion that everything was somehow going to fall smoothly into place, better than ever, roses would bloom as we walked by, there would be dancing and doors opening for us and tra la la la. I've since learned some lessons about hopes and disappointments, entitlement and humility, gratefulness and joy.

We had a baby 6 months ago. A perfect, happy, beautiful, very bouncy baby girl. We named her Aspen and she is pure joy. At times we have to do things for her that she does not approve of. Things like clipping her nails, wiping her nose, changing her pants, cleaning her ears and putting her socks on. It ends up like the scene from that TV show "Up All Night." The parents are wrangling the baby and they shout "we are just trying to help you! We're on your side." It would be so much easier if she would cooperate, just hold still for 2 seconds. If she could understand that she might not like what we are trying to do and it may hurt a little, but in the end it will be for her benefit. So much better than long scratchy nails, a crusty nose, dirty pants, waxy ears or cold feet. Really, it will be better if you just hold still.

At some point through the moving process and transition I decided to give up and quit fighting, to give in and accept what God is working out. To hold still. I choose to be grateful and find the positive, to be thankful for the smallest of things. I couldn't be happier because I quit being a baby and joy was cultivated when I realized my Father knows best.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtlewill grow. This will be for the LORD's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed." Isaiah 55:8-13

(12 & 13 are the verses we chose for Aspen's life blessing)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Declare

All of my life
in every season
you are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship
I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

~Brooke Fraser

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Blueberry Muffin

I can still taste that blueberry muffin. I did not want it to end. Maybe it was all that sunshine and warm breeze rustling the palms, or the laze of the days and blazing sunsets that made me relish every last bite? In October I spent 5 lovely days on a tropical island in the South Pacific with the man I married 10 years ago. The lucky dog.

I am so kidding. The past few months have really shown me the gem of a husband I have. He has been so patient and kind, loving and long-suffering, honoring and serving of me in every way possible.

Today I watched him lead his college in worship with his six strings and humility of heart. I looked on smiling with my own heart pounding with pride. Proud of who he is, who he is becoming. He's the sort of fellow who can go straight from a stage with lights and cameras to cleaning the toilets or helping someone get their motorcycle started with equal gladness. The sort of fellow who asks me to wear flowers in my hair and who possesses massive amounts of faith. It's these sorts of qualities I love so.

A few weeks ago we went to a gold class movie that was gifted to us by some friends. Gold Class movies are the First Class of movie going. We were ushered to our giant leather lounge recliners and served our courses of meal and other delights throughout the movie at times of our choice. It was fantastic. Quite a ritzy experience. Brooks had them bring me skittles, which they served in a glass pedestal bowl and he got the movie classic, popcorn. As we watched the picture show play out before us, our hands would meet in our fancy bowls of goodies, like teenagers, and my insides went a flutter. We walked out of the movies that night hand in hand. Him helping his ailing wife to the car. And me, warmly wishing to hold his hand forever and ever never to end. Like the best blueberry muffin you ever did eat on a tropical island in the South Pacific under palm trees swaying.

Dear Brooks,
Thanks for loving me the amount you do.
Thanks for making me laugh and bringing me breakfast in bed every single blasted sick day.
Thanks for being faithful, for loving and trusting God, and for serving Him only.
Thanks for smiling and counting on your fingers.
Thanks for being the sort of fellow you are.
And thanks for the blueberry muffin.

And Dear God,
Thanks for such a gift.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Prayer Salad

I haven't written lately. I feel a little nervous, I might have forgotten how. So much has happened since I last wrote a word. August has gone, September has come and will narrowly end. Much has changed.

I'm due to have a baby in April. We found out on a fine autumn day. Brooks and I had spent the day in Hunter Valley driving about the countryside taking in the scenery, watching the sunlight shift across terraces and vineyards in the valley. I had been eating starbursts most of the day and was wanting to eat popcorn for dinner but I had a notion that there could be another within and I didn't think our baby should come out all amped up on starbursts and junk food. And if I wasn't expecting I decided I seriously needed to work on my abs, after I ate popcorn. So we stopped by the store to pick up a test.

I was in such a need to know that I went directly to the Woolies bathroom. There they were, two lines. Two pink lines. Not just one line. I'd never seen two lines before. My eyes got real big and I began to laugh and smile. I tried to keep a straight face walking out of the bathroom but my smile could not be concealed. Brooks said "are you serious?" and we hugged and cried and smiled in that stark white hallway.

It's all quite a miracle and since then I've had all the symptoms.

We got to see our little baby for the first time the other day and were both moved to tears. So cute, wiggling and waving it's hands with the heart all a flutter.

We can't do this on our own. I've prayed for every good and perfect gift for this baby. For it's hands, feet, fingers, toes, brain, heart, organs, for no disease or illness to come and harm it, every little thing I can think of. I've prayed for wisdom and help to be the best parents we can be because we can't do it on our own...

I named this blog Prayer Salad and that's just what it's been in my mind. Since I happened upon this I think to it often and pray...

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I kind of gave up memorizing things a while back. I seem to have left that part of life back in the school days. Memorization is for kids who want stickers and lollies and patches for sewing on a vest, for tests and grades.

As a kid I would spend weeks out of the summer in VBS. That's vacation bible school. I would go to my Grandma Vi's church bible school and my Grandma Dorothy's church bible school, flopping back and forth from house to house, always a little concerned about Grandma's ability to fix my hair. As much as I adore my grandmothers, my house of choice for VBS weeks was my friend Kendra's. Her mom Teri was my babysitter from 6 months old til we moved far far away. Kendra and I were, well, she was my best friend. And I don't use that term lightly.

Teri was VBS super mom. She still is. She has always and forever given her time and talents to the teaching of children, caring deeply for them with the love of God as if they were her own. There was always scripture memory at VBS and as we got older the bigger the passages they challenged us with. The last VBS I can remember we were given some big long obscure passage in the Old Testament. Kendra and I decided to take it on. We stayed up late into the night that week huddled under her white cotton twill blanket with our flashlight reciting and memorizing that chapter of Habakkuk. We were careful to hear each other closely and make sure the other one was getting it. And eventually one or the other would drift off to sleep mid verse.

By the end of the week we had both mastered it. One by one those who had it memorized were to stand in front of the whole VBS and cite the passage. We were both nervous for each other. We did it all for some amount of points and a chocolate bar as I recall. Funny though, it wasn't the points or the chocolate that mattered most.

A dear friend of mine memorizes loads of scripture, still. I found that quite challenging. So after thinking about its importance and how I still live from the verses I memorized as a kid; I decided to bring it back. I picked a passage and have been memorizing it. And can I just tell you how fun it is and addictive. How good is that, being addicted to the bible? I carry my bible around with me, to the bathroom, to the kitchen, outside on the patio, in the car. I've been reciting in my head, in the shower, whilst baking cookies, to my husband, to the Italian girl who shares our wall.

Side note: I speak way more with my hands now after living with an Italian. I find this highly entertaining.

So I put my thinking cap back on and I like what it's doing in my mind and in my heart, all the memory of it.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Flooded Heart

My good good friend Rachelle told me she started her very own blog the other day. She's going to tell her story and I thought "right on" or "good onya" as they say here Down Under.

I want to highlight it because it is sure to be really good. She's one of those people who makes everything cute and creative, bursting with adorableness, but more than that it's a beautiful story. It's her story, it's God's story through her that no one else can tell. So if you want...