Monday, July 30, 2007

It's Twins!

Last night was a joyous occasion as 2 of our children decided to commit their lives to Jesus. We gathered around them on the banks of the river to witness their baptisms. It is so good to be surrounded by friends and family who raise up our arms as parents and who will do the same for our children. One of my favorite moments was when an 11-year old friend (who was baptised 1 week ago) said, "Now we can really be spiritual sisters."

We'd love to get pictures from one or all of the many cameras. Thanks for recording this special moment for us.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Kiss of Oscar

Have you heard about Oscar the Cat, the nursing home tabby who's better able to predict death than any doctor? For the past two years, this feline has wandered from room to room in a Rhode Island nursing home, never staying long in one place... unless a patient is about to die. Then he curls up on her bed and waits. 25 times this cat has predicted a death and stayed around for it, making doctors wonder if he's sensing an increase in hormone levels or some kind of electronic energy.

What I wonder is how the nursing home residents feel about this cat. Can you imagine as Oscar makes his rounds? Would you happy to see him? Or terrified? Would you ever try to encourage him to stay around for a cat nap on your bed or would you wish for a quick hello and good-bye?

I read a proverb this week. "You can't swap jokes with the angel of death."

But maybe you can love on Oscar.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Questions from a five-year old daughter

Are you looking at those words 'cuz you don't know what you're doing? (regarding the recipe while I was making cookies)

How old was I when you met me? (um, you're my child... you were pretty young)

Was I already in your tummy when you and Daddy got married? (We'd been married 15 years before she was born!)

Remember when I was playing on my tire swing, the one in Africa? (This child never lived in Africa - how can she remember the tire swing?)

When are we going to the playground. (Ah, that one's easy. Let's go right now!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Out of Season

Red delicious apples and naval oranges were the only fruit we could buy in the winter. No peaches, no apricots, no plums. Once in a while, someone would come back from Hawaii with a pineapple and we would ooh and ahh over the sweet, juicy flesh. To get a piece of fruit out of season was either a treat or an overpriced disappointment.

Now we're spoiled with all produce all the time. We use freighters and import agreements to ship in peaches from Chile, peaches that taste like they we picked as they formed on the branch, peaches so long off the tree by the time they reach our homes that there's not much use calling them peaches, or paying $4 a pound for them.

In some cases, though, the out of season tidbit is a gift, a mouthful of succulence made more sweet by its very rarity.

That's how I'm feeling about the July rain. We're on our second day of drizzle which, in February, would have pulled me down, but today offers a soothing touch. Its odd timing is what makes it good, a rain that cools the earth and quenches its thirst without threat of lingering on and on.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Reclining on the Freeway

The beige la-z-boy leaned back, its crushed velour stretching from head to foot rest in a yawn, as if taking a break while its owner went to the kitchen for a soda.

Cars, trucks and motorcycles whizzed by at 65 miles per hour. And the chair sat on the interstate's shoulder and watched, unperturbed by the noise, an observer on the highway of life.

"Slow down. Kick back," it called to me. "Take a seat and enjoy the view. You're moving so fast you can't focus."

"Can't stop now," I called in my rear view mirror. "I've got to keep up with the flow of traffic. Putting on the brakes now would be dangerous."

"Have it your way," the chair replied. "But I'm going to sit here just a little longer."

Friday, July 13, 2007

dinner and a movie... yawn!

I'll admit it... we've gotten in a rut. Whenever we have a date night, it seems like we end up either going to a movie or renting one to bring home.


I'm trying to compile a list of other ideas for date night-- nothing too extravagent, just good fun. Here are some of my ideas. Do you have any others?

Play miniature golf
Roast marshmallows and make smores
Go bowling
Watch the sunrise or sunset together
Read a book aloud together
Take a class
Buy the ingredients to make an ice cream sundae, and create it together
Visit a museum
Movie night
Go house viewing
Do something new in the city
Take a hike
Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Ascend to the top of the highest building in town
Make a picnic in the park
Rent canoes and paddle around the nearest lake
Take a cooking class together
Drive to a nearby town you have never visited before
Take a scenic drive
Take a bike ride

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Perhaps all those years in the tropical sun addled my brain. Or maybe they just reset my thermostat. Considering I grew up in a place where 70 was a "scorcher", I'm a little surprised the 101 temperatures this week haven't bothered me at all - I've been able to get my chores done, inside and out, take a 5-mile walk, even cook a meal or two.

I have discovered a new hot weather treat - blended chai tea (like a tea milkshake). Do you have any favorite ways to beat the heat?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

of dust

Adam and Eve left their garden paradise, shoulders bent, heads down, longing to return to the land God had granted them.

The Joads packed up their last belongings and said good-bye to the useless red and gray dust of Oklahoma. Useless, but home.

Scarlet O'Hara returned to Tara when all had left her, staking her tomorrow on the place that would not forsake her.

My family has no ties to the land. As generations moved westward, then northward, each generation leaving the home of its fathers, we lost our bond to the dust under our feet.

This week I slept, my face separated from clods of hay and dust only by the thin canvas of my tent and the thinning air in my mattress. The land on which I slept has belonged to the same family for many decades. As I observed the four living generations, I caught a glimpse of what I've missed. When a family shares the land for so long, they put down roots. They know each other and they know their history. Stories of old are told and retold and the children learn what it means to belong.

I think it's a blessing, this belonging, a blessing no longer enjoyed by so many among us. It was an honor to be witness to a family who knows what it is to be a family, for better or worse, in sickness and celebration. Thank you for sharing your dust.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

...and today...

8 hours of labor, magnesium therapy, about a hundred nurses, interns, NICU specialists, and doctors. It was a full day.

Some of my favorite memories of the day the twins were born are the people who came to visit-- Mom and Dad, of course, and Jeannie Stinson and Clark and Avis Hanna.

The nurses said I had a ways to go, but when I felt a certain pressure, they did another check and wheeled me off to delivery so fast that my parents, who had just gone down the hall for a drink from the vending machine, came back to find an empty room-- no bed, no pregnant woman, no Edwin-- just a pile of Edwin's clothes where he's dropped them when he changed into scrubs.

The first one was born about 15 minutes after I went into delivery. The second flipped around wrong way round. 4 minutes later, with lots of help, all 2 pounds, 15 1/2 ounces of her was born breech. 7 pounds of baby all together, in two perfect little packages. I'd never seen their dad look so happy.

Their eyes were so blue, so dark. It was all I could see of them since their mouths were covered with ventilators, their arms with tubes and wires, and their heads with hats. Two pair of dark blue eyes asking for me to hold them, but I couldn't... not yet. Holding would come later, after they were stable.

I remember a day about 4 years later when we were trying to cross a busy street. I scooped up one child in each arm and hurried them across. I reminded myself to remember the last time I could do that. Now, both girls stand eye to eye with me and I can't remember the last time I could pick them both up at once. The days fly by so swiftly.

Monday, July 02, 2007

12 Years Ago Today

Funny how a couple of months on bed rest addles your brain. Twelve years ago today, I was laying in a bed in the hospital, eating as much as I could keep down and dreaming of the lovely time I was going to have once my two angelic babies were born. A doctor (not mine) came in and announced, "We're doing a c-section in the morning!"

Tomorrow morning?! First of all, I'd already worked out with my doctor that I wanted these babies to come as naturally as possible and that didn't include any scalpels or operations on my part. Second... tomorrow? After all the excitement of flying back to the States, then getting transferred to a high-risk pregnancy hospital with a top-notch NICU, the weekly, then daily ultrasounds, the careful monitoring of both babies, the panic over their size discrepancy and some other warning signs, could tomorrow really be the day?

I didn't sleep that night. The last night without children and I couldn't sleep. Sure, I knew I needed the rest, but I was excited and scared and nervous and delighted. Besides, you can't actually stockpile sleep, can you?

I talked the unknown doctor out of the c-section, alerted the expectant grandparents, and waited for morning...