Pregnancy Loss and Infant Loss Rememberance Day

As I was blithely reading “The Tale of Two Cities” to some of my children this morning, the phone rang. It was one of my adult sons, who was calling to urge me to write a blog today as it is “Pregnancy Loss and Infant Remembrance Day.” He seemed to think that as I have experienced seven miscarriages in my life, I was qualified to write such a blog. I didn’t think I was and I gave him some reasons. But he maintained that I did have something to say.

So here I am.

One reason that I gave my son for not being the right one to write such a blog, is that in spite of the fact that I have had seven miscarriages, I do have ten healthy children (most of whom are adults – I feel funny calling them “children”). So yes, while I have experienced loss, I have also experienced enormous blessing.

What can I say to the woman who has had only miscarriages, with no living children?

Another reason I did not want to write such a blog, is that each and every person’s story is unique: some might still grieve for that baby (or those babies) that they lost ever so long ago, others might have not really wanted that pregnancy and experienced relief at a miscarriage (and may or may not feel guilt over those emotions), others might have experienced some lost but have gotten completely over it, others…you see what I mean?

What can I say to each situation when they are so different? I myself was in a different space for each of my various miscarriages and I would not presume that all other women felt what I did, or feel what I do.

But then I realized that I do have something to say. I can tell you what I know. It applies to all of humanity, whether you have experienced a miscarriage or the death of a born infant, or have experienced some other trauma, physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual.

The best thing you or I or anyone can do is go to God. What I mean is: communicate with God, our caring Heavenly Father. Tell Him your feelings, whatever they may be. He can handle your sorrow, your anger, your confusion, your guilt. Wait in silence before Him, let Him communicate with you. And read His Word, the Bible. Because it is full of wisdom and comfort and so much goodness!

If you are reading this and have no relationship with God, but would like to, I’d be glad to talk with you about that. I couldn’t do life without Him.

Oops!

Due to my lack of technological knowhow, the beginnings of a blog post that I was writing got sent to you. That one sentence was not my post. Please click on this link to read my actual post.

http://wp.me/p4aQVf-7I

Thanks, and sorry for my mistake. One of these days I’ll get the hang of it.

 

Nature Speaks

I took a walk in my favorite spot in Ottawa earlier this week:

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And then today I took a walk in my neighborhood

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Walking among such autumnal beauty, the blue skies, warm sunshine, beautiful foliage and that wonderful smell of autumn leaves brings to mind a song that I learned decades ago: “La nature me parle d’un Createur” (or “Nature speaks to me of a Creator”).

Babies also speak to me of a Creator! 2014-08-14 09.38.46

A little human life, grown in the mother’s womb, but a completely separate human being with his/her own personality – it never gets old, I haven’t lost the wonder of it after all these decades. Wondrous!

And then these little ones grow! And each unique person with their unique looks, personality, creativity, strengths, and abilities also speak of the Creator to me.

And so I write what is on my heart: thankfulness for such beauty as I have the privilege to see and for such richness of relationship that I have the privilege to enjoy with God, my husband, my children, my friends. And thankfulness for the peace and plenty that we in Canada enjoy at this moment.

But earlier today, I saw yet another video of brutality in Syria – suicide Jhihadists targeted schools and killed thirty children. My peace and the tranquility of my life exists in stark contrast to so much of what I have been reading/seeing of late. Horrifying images of innocent people being massacred.

What to do ? Can I ignore this suffering? God forbid. To start with, I can pray. Then, I can live out the things that God values such as truth and justice and mercy for the oppressed. And I can teach these to my children, not merely as concepts, but to actually live out. And then I can seek God for an open door to help in whatever way He leads.

I don’t feel guilty for living in a peaceful country and being free from fear of brutality or starvation. No, I appreciate it. I am very, very thankful for this. But I don’t want to forget my brothers and sisters around the world that are living a life amid brutality and deprivation.

My goal: to be thankful and appreciative, and caring for others, in prayer and word and deed.

Life Happens

I haven’t blogged for a while.

Why?

………………….LIFE!

My life doesn’t function like a well-oiled machine at a factory, churning out products on schedule.

My life is full of people.

I make a “to-do” list, and begin to “do,” and then my daughter calls from Haiti.

Gladly I put that list to the side – my daughter is way more important than anything on that list.

I am sitting down at the table about to do another “important” task on my to-do  list when I get a call that my sleep-deprived son and daughter-in-law need me to come and help them out with their newborn (less than one-day old) baby.

…..Hurriedly I deal with the necessary things on the home front and head out the door. Giving that help at that moment is more important than what I had planned.

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Another day, another to-do list (some things carried over from previous days, of course), and a daughter informs me she needs her health card renewed. That wasn’t on my list, but off we go. My days never go as planned. And that’s okay. Because that is life!

People are more important than the tasks on my list.

Those tasks, however, are connected to people, whether it is the laundry (people need clean clothes), cleaning (people prefer a germ free and somewhat tidy environment), or more directly, my list includes doing things with this person or that.

And just because something or someone wants to interrupt my day, doesn’t mean I have to go to that thing, take that call, or whatever.

I want to be sensitive, not pushed and pulled about by everyone else’s demands or perceived needs, but that I may be sensitive to the leading of God’s Spirit and discern what is truly important at the moment.

And be willing to let life be life and not worry about the multitude of things that didn’t get crossed off my to-do list.

Yeah, so I haven’t gotten around to writing a blog until just now. And that’s okay with me. Life happens. Priorities.

What Can You Waste, But Can Not Save?

A riddle: Some spend it wisely, while others fritter it away. No one can save it. Everyone, both those who have spent it wisely and those who have spent it foolishly receives a fresh supply the next day. What is it?

Time!

Over the last few months, every now and then a recurring question has come to my mind: “How am I spending my time?”

I’m not talking about my main “job”, that of being a mom – I’m thinking about the other bits of time that I have. Am I using the twenty-four hours that I (and we all) have been given, in the best possible way?

God’s Word says,  “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Am I making the best use of my time?

How should I spend/invest it? That is besides my main “day job” of being a mother (all right, “day-and-night” job for mothers of young children, but let me encourage you – it eventually becomes mostly a “day job”).

I find it so easy to simply  slip in to frittering away time – picking up a book lying around – we like books in our family and there are usually some lying around that I can reach over, pick up, and open randomly (I’ve most likely read it already) and read. For. A. While.

Or looking up something on the Internet and then clicking on this link and that simply because the title catches my eye. And the time passes.

I have been writing a children’s novel for some time now (many, many years) and when I look back over the years and the time wasted here and there, why, I believe I could have finished that novel by now!

But no use crying over wasted time! It is useful, however, to take stock of what is, or has been, and seek to make wiser investments of my time.

How do I make the best use of my time?

Seeking God is always the best place to start (prepare for a little “ouchy” reality – but “ouchy” isn’t bad if it leads to good change!).

Hourglass imageAnd here are some general ideas to consider regarding investing time other than our main job/ministry that God has given us:

Invest in relationships: I want to spend time with God (if you don’t know what that means, feel free to ask), with my spouse, with my children. I want my other relationships to be helpful and encouraging – if someone isn’t benefiting from the relationship, why spend precious time on it?

Use even casual encounters (cashier at the grocery check-out, child’s soccer coach or ballet teacher) to be a blessing, to bring God’s kingdom here on earth.

Refreshment: we need to rest, recharge or replenish our bodies, minds, and spirits. What does that?

Physical rest is important (am I burning the candle at both ends?) as well as exercise.

For mind and spirit, I think creative pastimes are beneficial, whether it’s art, music, writing, gardening, building, decorating, and so many, many more areas.

Entertainment – here is an area that most of us could probably use a moment to step back and think about: Movies, YouTube videos, video games, or those online games that I don’t know what they’re called, but I receive notices in my FaceBook newsfeed that my FB friends have reached this or that level in them. “Making the best use of time?” Hmm? Is it refreshing my mind and spirit or dulling them?

While I don’t play online or video games, I do enjoy watching a movie or an entertaining, or touching, or funny YouTube video, but how much of my watching is “making the best use of my time”?

Perhaps I should use the same standard as with my relationships: if it isn’t actually beneficial to someone (in this case, me), I should invest my time in something else.

As I mentioned, this question of how I have been spending my time has been one that has been recurring to me over months. Writing this blog has helped me sort things out. I see that I have invested my time wisely over the years, pouring into my children, but I have also wasted time, not always making the best use of it.

With God’s help, I intend to be more aware, more intentional, and to make better investments of my free time. How about you?

Inspiration by Example

This week we had a couple over for dinner. I will give them the fictitious names of Brian and Nancy, simply because I don’t think that they would want any praise.

We know Brian from our college days, when he was my husband Alan’s counselor. Over the years, we have had Brian and Nancy over a couple of times when they have visited the city that we were living in, and Alan has met with Brian when Alan has visited the city Brian was living in.

Meanwhile, Brian became the president of a renowned graduate school. Recently, he was invited to our city to speak at a prestigious event, and even though Brian and Nancy had a busy schedule, they made time to come over for dinner.

Brian and Nancy are both fun, intelligent and down-to-earth people with huge hearts for others. They were an example to me by the way that they engaged each person (down to our ten year old)  in our home in conversation, making each one feel worth while.

Most people are more focused on the main conversation going and what they could contribute to it or their own good time, but this couple seemed to be thinking of others…all the others. This is an example to me, and I am seeking to follow it. By the next day I had an opportunity when at Israeli folk dancing to approach someone who doesn’t converse much with others, and speak some kind words. I plan to pursue the thoughtfulness that Brian and Nancy modeled to me.

But there is more:

After a wonderful evening together, when I was driving Nancy and Brian back to their hotel, our aged car began making very loud noises, as if there were no muffler. After a while there were additional noises and the feel of some sort of pipe dragging underneath the car. While I was concerned about the car, and about getting Brian and Nancy back to their hotel, not for one moment was I embarrassed, as this couple was only projecting sympathy in a kind but fun way.

Driving up to the Lord Elgin Hotel in downtown Ottawa with this rusty, roaring, clunking car did not seem to phase or embarrass them. Brian looked under the car, saw that there was definitely a pipe dragging on the ground, and asked the uniformed door-man for a hanger. When this was brought, Brian got down on his hands and knees and managed to rig the hanger around the pipe and hook it to something to keep it off the ground for my journey home.

What did I see that evening, in front of the Lord Elgin Hotel in downtown Ottawa? I saw Mr. Dr. President-of-Renowned-Graduate-School-Speaker-at-Prestigious-Event down on his hands and knees doing exactly, and I mean exactly what Jesus (Yeshua) did and told his disciples to do…serve each other. People say they believe certain things, but does their life show it? Does ours? This man’s does.

What Not to Wear

Many years ago, one of my daughters told me of a television show called “What Not to Wear”. I have no need of this show. I have daughters. If my daughters ever saw me in something that they considered hideous, or even simply quite unflattering, they would be sure to tell me.

I am not the foremost authority on fashion or clothing, but I can tell you one thing not to wear. Ever. That item, that ugly, unflattering garment not to put on, is complaining.

One of the garments that we are supposed to “put on” is thankfulness. Thankfulness and complaining can’t both be worn at the same time. So it is either thankfulness or complaining. And God makes it clear which one He favors.

The reason I began thinking about this today, is because it is May 2. May, in the part of the world where I live, is a beautiful month – the month of blue skies and warm sunshine, and colorful flowers blooming. In fact usually on Mother’s Day, my family blesses me to have time off and I often spend part of the day planting the pretty flowers that they have given me for Mother’s Day.

But as I look outside, I see that May is not living up to my expectations. It has been drearier and colder than usual. We have had a longer-than-normal winter, which means the warm sunny months of spring and summer will be shorter. No flowers yet.

As I was realizing this, I was thinking about how people are going to be complaining about our short spring and summer, the way there has been so much complaining about the long winter.

So I wanted to preempt this complaining that I anticipate and encourage my readers to leave off that garment. The garment of complaining is what not to wear. It is not pleasing in God’s sight. Thankfulness is. Let’s put that one on. It’s in the “What to wear” list…God’s list. And His list is good enough for me, in fact, His list brings life!