Archive for October, 2009
Orison went trick-or-treating for the first time tonight.
I wish I could’ve bottled up some of his enthusiasm and zest as he ran, full-speed, from house to house.
I wish I could’ve apologized to all the people whose doorbells were rung in rapid-fire fashion as he waited to scream “Trick or Treat” with all the excitement a four-year-old body can handle. He didn’t seem to hear me when I said, “Only ring it once!”
He dressed as a cowboy, and he was the cutest little cowboy there ever was.
There’s another pretty cute cowboy in this town, too, and they joined forces for a little croonin’ before bed.
(Yes, they both have *real* cowboy boots!)
Happy Halloween, y’all!
I watched this video this morning over at the Compassion blog. It seemed fitting, especially since I just posted about the Child Survival Program.
I couldn’t help but tear up, allowing the gravity of the topic to land on me for a few minutes. The reality that 9 million children a year die before their 5th birthday—my son turns five in a few weeks, Lord willing.
For me, having lost a child to something I couldn’t control, it hits even harder. I mean, I can do something about diarrhea. I can help people learn how to sanitize bottles and breast feed their babies.
You don’t have to feel the same way, but this is a very exciting ministry to me.
As some of you know, I’m heading to El Salvador very soon (12 days!!!) as a blogger for Compassion International. As the trip draws closer, I’m getting really excited about the work I’ll be able to witness, and humbled that I get to catalogue it here.
Many of you know about Compassion’s work, and like many of you, I thought until a couple months ago that Compassion was exclusively a child sponsorship program.
Oh friends, we were sooooo wrong.
Turns out there are three unique programs targeting different stages of child development.
The youngest children served by Compassion are still in the womb! Compassion provides a beautiful ministry called the Child Survival Program. It offers:
- prenatal care and infant survival training for mothers and caregivers, as well as spiritual guidance and education, such as literacy and income-generation training
- ongoing health screenings and immunizations for the children
- child development training for mothers of children under 4
This is a program that I’m very eager to see first-hand. Most of us here in the States take our childrearing skills and education for granted. Our mothers were educated and had resources to raise us. And now we are educated and have resources to raise our children. As huge as that is, conceptually, we take it for granted.
I hope you’ll read the post, Child Survival 101, and learn a little more as I start my journey. That way, when I’m actually in the country, you’ll be all caught up on what I’m talking about and we can focus on the stories, the people, and the lives that matter so much to God. Some of them are being knit together even now.
Thanks for being interested in my trip to El Salvador. And if you have questions about the Child Survival Program that you want me to ask when I’m there, post them in the comments! I want to go as an ambassador for all of you!!!
Can you tell I’m getting excited?
I’m sure many of you have heard of the sensation that is Improv Everywhere. Basically they set up all kinds of hilarious improv scenarios in the midst of everyday life and surprise the heck out of people.
One of my fanatasies in high school was for an impromptu musical to start in the hallways of McDowell High School—people everywhere bursting into spontaneous song and dance. Can you tell I was a musical theater person? It really wasn’t cool back then, but I’m glad for Improv Everywhere making my dreams come true vicariously.
Their blog is cool because you don’t get bombarded by tons of stuff, you just periodically get a laugh at their newest, creative scheme.
Other Blogs I Read
Our oldest son, Orison, will start kindergarten next fall! We’ve been evaluating our options for a loooong time, and feel like the right thing for him is to send him to school, as opposed to doing homeschool. Perhaps that’s another post.
We’re considering a few different options for schooling. We’ll be looking at a few private Christian schools and a couple public charter schools (classical education). We live in a very urban neighborhood, and feel like the public schools in our immediate area would not be a good fit for Orison.
I’m really new to all this school stuff, so my brain kind of turns to mush when I start trying to figure it all out.
So… do you wanna help me out?
One of the Christian schools is a Charlotte Mason school. If you subscribe to that theory of education, let me know what questions I should be asking, or what I should be looking for at the school.
Both of the public charter schools are Classical schools. Same deal—if you have experience with that model, help me know what to look for or what questions to ask.
I have the book The Well-Trained Mind, but feel really overwhelmed to even crack it open. And plus it’s a homeschool book, so I don’t know how relevant it’ll be for my current search.
And to be honest, I’m a verbal processor. I feel like I learn best through talking! And since I can’t sit down and have a face-to-face conversation with all of you, I’d love to learn from you through a blog conversation.
Thanks in advance for your help!
On September 22, we marked Felicity’s second birthday. We don’t do anything extravagant, just things that recognize the significance of the day in our hearts.
At the cemetery Abraham and I try to give each other a few minutes of peace and reflection while we alternate caring for the other kids.
Morrow was alert and aware of his surroundings this year, as opposed to last year when he was one month old. At thirteen months he’s a busy one! He enjoyed the birthday balloon the best, more specifically bopping his brother.
And he enjoyed crawling all over the cemetery (note the filthy knees). He eventually found some goose poop on a veteran’s grave and decided to give it a taste. Abraham used most of a bottle of water trying to flush his mouth, hence the soaked shirt.
My girlfriends had already brought some of these flowers. It was like a welcome banner for us. And it meant a lot to know that they’d been there.
Orison really likes to take pictures, so here’s one he snapped of the rest of us:
Orison kept himself very busy while we were there. He often brings his bike to the cemetery, but this time he had no training wheels! He hadn’t exactly gotten the hang of it until this day, so bad mommy didn’t even bring his helmet (I totally wasn’t expecting him to get it!)
It truly was a special gift from the Lord to have something to celebrate through our tears. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience or something while I watched him—how did I get here? how did he get to be so old? how is it that he’s taking this huge step of independence right before my eyes?
It felt like a launching forward.
Happy birthday, Felicity Margaret. We miss you.
I have people contact me pretty regularly who are intersecting with stillbirth and child loss for the first time. Some are experiencing it themselves, but more often than not, they’re friends with someone who’s just lost a child.
Most of them have no idea what to do. They’re at a loss, completely unprepared to comfort in something so mind-numbingly awful.
It took me at least six months to want to read a book about loss, grief, or death. It took me a couple months to even read anything. It felt so trite and small to read something that wasn’t about death, but then it felt like too much of a bad thing to read about grief and loss when I was just trying to make it through a day with death all around me.
Lots of people want to give a book to the grieving person. It’s not a bad gift, especially if it’s a good book about grief and loss.
But I want to challenge you one further—read the book first.
I want to tell you a story about what that meant for me. A few months ago, I was given a present from one of our dear friends—an unmarried, male friend. It was wrapped in the way you might expect an unmarried male to wrap a gift, in a brown paper bag with my name scrawled on top in permanent marker.
I waited to open it until later in the night, after he’d left. I unwrapped the package and found a book, a book about stillbirth. I opened the cover to find this inscription:
This is a book I recently stumbled across by a woman whose first child was stillborn. It moved me very powerfully, and I wanted to give it to you… “We read to know we’re not alone,” say the characters in Shadowlands. I hope this book makes you feel less alone.”
I could hardly read his words through the thick tears in my eyes. All I could say over and over, through my sobbing was, “He read the book. He read the book!”
What was a single guy with no children doing reading a book about stillbirth? I’ll tell you what he was doing. He was loving me in one of the most profound ways I’ve experienced from a friend since Felicity died.
This was no quick-fix, at-arms-length gift from someone who didn’t know how to handle someone like me. He had decided very consciously to enter into our pain, into our hell, even just for 184 pages. But that decision meant more to me than almost anything. It was a decision to love.
Too often we panic when we don’t understand how to interact with someone who’s going through tremendous pain. I think one motivation for simply buying a book and giving it is to say, “Wow, I don’t know what all this is about, but this person [who wrote the book] must know something. I mean, they have a book about it.”
Another thing it can communicate is a desire to keep things neat and tidy. If we’re really honest with ourselves we might find something a few layers deeper that’s saying, “I don’t understand this. I’m not very good at all this stuff. So here, here’s a book! That’ll help them, right?”
And neither of those is wrong, necessarily. Buying a book for a hurting person is not unkind; I don’t mean to imply that at all.
But what if we said, “Wow, I have no idea what they’re going through. Here’s a book about it. That’ll help me understand them better, hopefully.” You can equip yourselves to love hurting people! This will give you mileage in communicating and relating with the brokenhearted if you can join them in their brokenheartedness. It’ll help you cry a few more tears for the one who hasn’t stopped crying.
I don’t know if any of you will take this advice. Maybe a few of you will. If you do, I want to thank you in advance on behalf of grieving people everywhere. It will be a transforming step of blessing for them… and you.