Thursday, April 26, 2007
Remember our Easter tree last year? Well this year, with the sudden deep freeze that hit us - there were little flowers left and the zero temps (32 f) made it rather chilly for the angels who were bringing the tree back to life. The little ones still enjoyed devouring the chocolate eggs hanging from it, regardless how limp the flowers became or how lopesided the tree was.
But there were many beautiful moments caught on tape and I have finally taken the time to share some of them with you.
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. And yes! I will try to change the poll soon!!
GOD Bless Read more!
The day was warm and the sun was out and we were experiencing some pleasant short sun showers. Miguel and I had just returned from dropping off packages at the local UPS store and he entered the house while I headed to the neighbors to see the dress she had been sewing and wanted me to look at.
I heard our front door open and close again and it was Miguel who joined me as a different neighbour stopped us and asked if we could help her mover her freezer and a few other belongings to her new home around the corner. She and Miguel headed over to her house so he could get an idea of the amount of things she needed to move and I turned back to my friend's house.
The sun was warming my shoulders and the odd drop of rain was falling on my face and nose and the contrast was striking. Suddenly, as I reached the front door step I heard a male voice calling from across the street "Baby" I paused only briefly conjecturing I really did not want to see who was yelling Baby at me, or anyone else on the street.
Again the male voice boomed out, this time with a real note of desperation in his voice.
"The baby!" he yelled. Noting 'the' I turned and as I did he yelled again; "THE Baby!!" I caught in the corner of my eye Elsa's curly red hair and her pink plaid sun dress.
She was hesitatingly crossing the very busy road we live on. She was almost half way through our side of the road and coming on that side was a car. Her gaze was intent on the other side of the road and on Miguel who was already too far away to do anything but watch helplessly. My mind went into a blur and everything around me shut down while Elsa's tiny body and uncertain steps crystallized in my mind. I was tearing towards her without even knowing I was running. My breath was hoarse in my throat and my arms stretched out to grasp her to my chest, enclosing her warm body next to my heart. She felt the fear in my body and melted into me whilst looking into my face, my terror reflecting in her eyes.
With the car closing in behind me, my feet meet the grass and then our red brick path. I continued running until I was on our door step and gasping I pulled open the front door. She did not move, but clung to me as tightly as I was hugging her. Her curls were pressed under my chin and I called out as I entered the house; "Who left the door open, who left the door open?" and then I burst into tears.
Elsa tenderly reached up and touched my cheeks saying: "Don't cwy mummy, don't cwy!" Then Emma, also concerned by my tears, attempted to force feed me french fries. (Clearly the child finds comfort in food.) We were quickly surrounded by the family all of them anxious to see Elsa and know that their darling baby sister was okay. She was and is. Thanks be to God and a young man whom I never saw but only heard who, whilst frozen to the spot, had the presence of mind to cry out the only thing he could think of; "The baby... The baby!"
I love my children dearly, but something like this really reminds one just how precious they really are to you! In the twinkling of an eye their life can be robbed from you. We never know when that moment will come and while I do want to live in fear of the loss of a child, I would do well to remember this and to guard against having regrets should I someday actually experience the loss of a child. Read more!
I immediately asked Chelsea if I could post her article on my blog and she very generously agreed.
Unfortunately I have taken forever to take her up on this! But at last, here it is: Read on and enjoy. If you like her writings be sure to check out her blog and see what else she has shared about NFP. Oh and by the way, Chelsea is Lutheran.
Embracing Natural Fertility
The other night as my husband of five months and I were cleaning up
after dinner, we started talking about our experience as Natural
Family Planners. Natural Family Planning is a natural alternative to
synthetic forms of birth control. It requires observing patterns in a
woman's cycle in order to determine times of fertility and
infertility. During our discussion it struck us what a blessing NFP
has been for us, in so many ways.
One of the most appealing things about NFP is that it is exactly what
it claims to be; natural. NFP is free from devices and chemicals and
side effects. It empowers women by teaching them the nature of their
fertility cycle, helping them to understand why things happen and at
what time. It allows couples to unravel the mystery of conception and
get a glimpse of how God creates life from love. Its very nature is
open to life, although it allows you to exercise a certain amount of
discretion - discretion that takes into account the health and well
being of the mother and father. God has given us minds and hearts to
consider such important things.
Another benefit is that NFP is a two person decision. Not controlled
by one or the other, NFP encourages two as a couple to communicate
continually with honesty and love about whether now is a good time to
avoid or achieve pregnancy. Using NFP has encouraged my husband and I
to communicate openly and often. It has taught us patience,
anticipation and what it means to be open to life. It has taught us to
pray and to ask God what His plan is for us. It has reminded us that
children are an integral part of marriage and a gift from God. And
that is only after five months!
The path to accepting NFP has been a long road for me. The idea of
managing my fertility naturally was, in theory, appealing. However, I
was scared about what this would mean for my life. Would it be too
restricting? What if I have 14 kids?!? Will I have to abandon study?
Are you sure it works? Ever since my first sex education class I had
assumed that contraception was the way to go. Every sensible person
recommended it. As for the Catholics, well, they were just 'ultra
conservative' and 'out of touch.' Yet, the more I considered these
things, the more my conscience was stirred. Maybe the Catholics were
on to something after all? Interestingly enough, our ancestors seemed
to share similar views. I wondered what had made them change their
In my search for answers I came across a book called 'Good News about
Sex and Marriage,' by Christopher West. This book speaks about the
marriage act being one of total, self sacrificing and life giving
love. This means not withholding anything from your partner. Not even
your fertility. This is the stuff I wanted to hear more about.
After a long time of praying and reading and talking about this
all-too-big-and-scary venture into NFP, God replaced every fear with a
blessing. This should not surprise us as we know the character of our
God. When we put our trust in Him, God helps us to order our lives. He
puts meaning into things that seem meaningless and he gives peace
where there is unrest. For some this means the challenge of six
children, 5am breast feeding and 40 loads of washing. For others, this
means coming to terms with the fact that they could only have one
child, even when they prayed fervently for a second. Then there are
those for whom God grants peace, and purpose, when he has not granted
conception at all.
At our congregation we have a beautiful young Sudanese woman named
Ajulu. Ajulu loves talking about her children and hopes that God will
bless her with many more. On days when her children Ter, Ruon and Deng
are behaving, she even talks of wanting nine. What perplexes Ajulu is
that people in our country have so few children. In her home country,
children are considered as one of the greatest gifts from God.
Children are a vibrant and vital part of the community. These
communities grieve when they cannot conceive. Knowing the sadness that
comes with infertility, the Sudanese community embrace marriage as a
union that is open to life. Where God will grant life, they will
What is it in our culture that leads us to prevent pregnancies from
occurring? What does this mean about how we view our bodies, most
especially our fertility? A doctor only prescribes medicine to ill
people. Is fertility something we need to be protected from? Is it a
disease? Why are we excited and relieved when a new form of
contraception hits the market and is -- wait for it -- even more
effective than the pill!? Finally, no more 'unwanted' pregnancies.
What a major contradiction this presents; that one of the greatest
gifts from God might be a burden for us. What a major contradiction
that one of God's greatest gifts is 'unwanted' or a 'mistake.'
Ajulu has been a beautiful reminder to me what it means to let God
permeate every aspect of your life. Every aspect of our life is in His
control, even the things as personal as our fertility. Let us find
comfort in the fact that He never gives us more than we can handle.