Monday, January 31, 2011

I Delivered My Baby on the Side of the Road



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True statement.

I birthed my second born, this toothless grinner, on I-26, smack dab between Exit 18 and Exit 19.

Sweet Ruby Catherine came screeching into the world surrounded by one foul-mouthed mother, one dazed father, two inexperienced EMS workers, and one much needed Good Samaritan.

Lessons learned from delivering my baby on the side of the road?

*When they say your second baby comes faster than your first, they mean from the first contraction to holding the little bundle of joy could happen in under an hour and twenty minutes.

*When you see emergency vehicles on the side of the road, don’t assume everything is under control.

*All strangers aren’t bad. Some strangers turn out to be nurses driving along the highway.

*God teaches you lessons about strangers and giving whether you think you need to learn them or not.

So why all the roadside delivery talk now?

A couple of reasons. The smiling chunk at the top of your screen turns two very soon, and her grand entrance into the world pushed me to think about the Delievery Kits Craft Hope is currently collecting (very basic supplies needed to help women delivery babies in Haiti).

Plus, I was wondering if there’s a way for people to get involved with Craft Hope without having to buy the supplies, make the kits, and then send them off.

Idea!

My friend Karyn, from Delicate Fortress Creations has put together Delivery Kits to send to Craft Hope for $8.50. For $8.50 you purchase an alcohol wipe, bar of soap, plastic sheet, latex gloves, receiving blanket, Purell packet, clean string, a gallon zip lock bag, and a handmade stuffed animal. Karyn collects the supplies, and she sends them off.

Is $8.50 more than you want to spend? There’s another option. For only $2.50, you can pay to have the kit shipped for someone else. Nice. Yep, you can get involved for only $2.50.

Now, obviously I'm not comparing myself to women in Haiti, but coming from someone who didn't have her baby hospital-style, I really see the value of a plastic sheet. Too gross? Sorry.

Please go see Karyn about premade Delivery Kits, or take a minute and check out the project directly through Craft Hope.

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

Linking-up with some fab women today.



Thursday, January 27, 2011

What Do I Know About Art?


In kindergarten, I won third place for my watercolor painting of flowers. I remember the ribbon hanging on the wall. I wondered when someone would realize other paintings were better than mine, and snatch my glorious ribbon away.

Emily challenged us to think about art. Not the fancy, paint-brush-kind-of-art, but the art we create each day. The art that radiates from our homes, hearts, children, mouths, and choices in life.

And so I thought.

And then I realized, that time and again I deem my art not good enough, and I still worry about my ribbon being snatched away.

I dismiss the art in my life, often failing to acknowledge the beautiful right here, and that, my friends, isn’t what my journey is all about. So, today I am making a tiny effort to dismiss less and celebrate more, to notice my choices, blessings, and talents, and then, (here comes the hard part) share them.

What art am I celebrating today? This note. I discovered it crumpled in the junk drawer. Although it is far from junk, it is art I sometimes forget to celebrate. It's a reminder of the benefits in choosing to work part-time.


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What art do you see in your life today? Do you celebrate the daily art, or are you holding out for that perfect, framed and finished product?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Share Your Story (Meet Kim Turnage-Enough)

In today's Share Your Story, we meet Kim Turnage, author of From Doing to Being. I knew I'd like Kim when I read her profile:


"I've made the mistake of identifying myself by what I do- a student, a statistician, a human resources consultant, a psychology instructor, a director of ministries. All those things have started and stopped. And it turns out I'm still here. I'm learning to define life by being instead of by doing."


I connected with Kim. At some point, haven't we all defined ourselves by what we do and not who we are?


Take a few minutes and read what Kim has to say about finding enough.



Saturday night I quizzed Rick:


How much are we giving? Is it enough? How will we allocate our giving next year?


Followed only seconds later by a second pop quiz:


Are we saving enough for retirement? Really? How much is enough?


What is "enough" anyway?


Enough for what?


Food, shelter, transportation, medical care, beach vacations, international travel, Alaskan cruises, golf every morning, lunch out every afternoon, gourmet dinners every night?


Where does the list end? When is enough enough?


I felt the tension - between my desire to give with an open hand and my desire to set back (can you say hoard?) that slippery "enough" for the future.


So that was Saturday night. And, because sermons are written especially for me at my church, I'll give you one guess on the topic of this week's sermon....


Go on! Guess!


You got it!


Giving.


I've heard a lot of sermons in my life -- good ones I might add -- about giving. The best ones always come at it from the perspective of giving as a spiritual discipline. They're about what giving (or greed) does to your heart, your soul, your spirituality.


This week's sermon used a text I've never seen before in this context:


Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have! (Matthew 6:22-23)



Pastor Larry talked about how the "eyes" in this passage represent our spiritual vision. And how money, the love of it, distorts our spiritual vision, making it hard for us to see the truth about things like:


  • My greed
  • The real dividing line between "middle class" and "rich" (hint: it's not just a little higher than my standard of living)
  • My immortality relative to the ephemeral nature of the "stuff" I crave
  • Where I put my trust for security and significance

Last week I took the kids to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader.


At one point, Eustace, the Pevensies' bratty cousin, full of self-importance, suspicion (and, it turns out, greed) sets off alone on a deserted island only to find treasure. But the treasure literally enslaves him, transforming him into a hideous dragon. After some time of trying to redeem himself, even tearing at his own skin with his claws, he accepts the transformation only Aslan can bring and returns to (a much improved version of) himself.


And so this week I'm thinking about the choice I can make. I can serve a master (Mammon) who lures me into slavery with a mirage of security and significance...a place I can never reach on that path, where I'll never find rest, never say, "Yes. My 401k is big enough."


Or I can serve the One who treasures me so much He died to set me free. Free for a promise already fulfilled, the only security and significance I really need. Free from the need. . . the greed. . .of scraping and scrimping and hoarding. Free to find that He is enough. . . and in response to that gift of Enough to open my hands wide and give as generously as He has given to me.


Thanks, Kim. I love to read new voices and discuss giving through Share Your Story, and oh, I have lined-up some good stories for you! Stories about a home lost and the Gospel found at a gas station, a year of muffins, support fully raised, and medical bills paid off.

Image credit.

Monday, January 24, 2011

But I Like Where I Am, and I'm So Good at Life Here!

Are you comfortable where you are?

Perhaps a little too comfortable?

Maybe even a tad stuck?

Sometimes I’m too busy patting myself on the back for previous growth to notice the sluggish pace my current growth has taken.

The slow-moving speed I’m referring to doesn’t just relate to my family’s journey towards gracious giving, sometimes it relates to my faith.

Take a peek at this fun video from rightnow.org.



Is there an area in your life that needs a little push (or swift kick!)? What’s holding you back from taking a step out of kindergarten and a leap into the big world?

Linking up with Jen and the girls today at Finding Heaven. Why don't you click over and hang out with us for a bit?


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Safe Birthing Kits and 24 Inches of String

Have you heard of Craft Hope?

No? Well, let me tell you, Craft Hope is an amazing community started by twenty-five bloggy friends, which has now turned into a massive force changing the world by crafting.

Now, before you stop reading because your crafting ability, much like mine, is very close to zero, I beg you to wait.

The fabulous thing about Craft Hope projects is yes, they involve some creating, but they are doable even for us, less talented folks.

Craft Hope’s current project? Safe Birthing Kits for women in Haiti.

I know what you are thinking. What could possibly be in a Safe Birthing Kit?

I don’t know about you, but I’d like a doctor and some serious meds in my Safe Birthing Kit. However, the items in this kit are so basic you will be shocked.

Don’t believe me? How about a 24 inch piece of clean string and an alcohol wipe. No joke people. String and a single alcohol wipe. Those are two of the six items being collected for Safe Birthing Kits.

Want to know more? Of course you do.

Want to know what you will be asked to craft for this project? I thought so.

Click here to discover the details, and learn more about Craft Hope.

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time


Photo credit.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Share Your Story (Meet Tiffini-Are You In Pain? If So, Give)

In today's Share Your Story, we meet Tiffini from The House of Belonging. Mother, photographer, writer, and friend, Tiffini intends to jump naked into life, and after reading this, she may just leap into your heart too. Here's Tiffini-

Were you ever in so much pain you couldn't feel anymore? I am. One of my "aha moments" was realizing I can't live inside my seemingly insurmountable prison walls of pain.

I refuse to live trapped any longer.

Today I am sharing small things that are bringing joy back into my life.

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"Friendship doubles your joys, and divides your sorrows."

As I talked with God, I believe these are prayer wrought outcomes. The Father is hearing. I am hearing, and then, I am doing.

Giving to others - my time, my prayers, my help, my abilites. Saving our change for New Day Foster Home.These are building-up things.

Giving to myself- taking time to heal my sick soul, taking time for me, taking care of my health.

Giving to my family- living with less, working towards living simply, learning to cook whole foods.

Listening more-This pain really does take over and fully destroy a family leaving it broken and not useful. Unhealthiness can become all consuming, and the children suffer from parental starvation.

I noticed change when I began to live life instead of observing, and when I began getting involved somewhere. I started small.

Praying for a real friend. Allowing God to pick your friends. Fleshly ones. The ones that come birthed through prayer seem to be just the right ones. God has brought a sweet friendship into my life that really does live next door. I am also making some new friends here in our blog world.

Blogging. It helped take some of the pressure off of my mind to put thoughts onto "paper". Stuff has to go somewhere. It has to have an outlet. This has become my outlet. This past October, my daughter encouraged me to start blogging, and the biggest gift thus far, is the friends I am making. I've never met any of them (yet), but God is weaving a net under me even now.

Using STRONG words like Ann Voscamp has shared. I have found this very encouraging, doable, and helpful.


The pain is still very much throbbing - the difference I think - is me. I am daily - intentionally - choosing to let go what has been tightly held in my right hand.

He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, " Is there not a lie in my right hand?"

Isaiah 44:20

My blog is new. I am not sure where God wants it to go, and that is ok. At the beginning of the year, I stopped sharing about my pain as much. I wanted to open my heart up more in other areas. I want to explore areas in my life that the pain has overshadowed and never allowed to grow.

I am a broken human being. None of what I shared above has come without much tears and weeping. I mess up all the time. I have struggled with my value, and thoughts of not being enough. Letting go of control and allowing Him to change us is hard and painful. Allowing the light to peer into our dirty mess of a heart is like having open heart surgery without anesthetic.

I pray this year is the year my kids and I can ring the freedom bell. Yes Beth, I can really hear it ringing in the distance.

If you are suffering in silence and trapped inside your prison walls of pain, please know you are not alone. There is HOPE. Hope is a person. Just keep breathing.


I will close with this. Here is a word picture that came to my mind the other day.

Close your eyes, sweet one, relax, and breathe in and out sowly. Now stretch out your hands in front of you. I know your head is hanging down.He is waiting. Go ahead, hold your hand up there. The softest sweetest love takes your hand so tenderly. It wraps itself around your cry. Just let it soak in. No rushing here. Let the love envelope you starting at your fingertips and moving down. Washing away the pain and the noise of the day. Let the love whisper to you - You are not alone.You are OK. Let it continue to wash all yuck away. As you breathe in, breathe in Him. As you breathe out, breathe out you.

He cupped my chin

I am here. You do not have to sit in this darkness anymore. Lift up your head. Come. I will never tire of helping you up.

I would be blessed and encouraged beyond measure to hear ways you have refused to live trapped. What have you added to your life that has it going in another direction?

Loved this article!

Learning to Let Go @ {in}courage

Thank you Tiffini. Click over to Tiffini's, and find out about her Word-Women Wednesdays, being vulnerable, real-life, and jumping naked.


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