Monday, December 22, 2014

Immanuel, God With Us - Jude's Surgery details

Many of you know that our little man, Jude Immanuel, is going in tomorrow (Tuesday) morning for surgery at Seattle Children's Hospital.  I know many of you have asked for details and for updates so I'm going to spell it all out but if you don't want to read it all, take away the following:  It is a miracle we found this condition with his kidneys, it is a miracle we live so close to one of the best children's hospitals in the world, we are grateful for your prayers and encouragement and most of all we want you to pray for all the families at SCH over this Christmas season.



The technical name for his surgery is "cystoscopy with transurethral puncture of ureterocele."  You can Google it, I choose not to.  Essentially Jude has a cyst-like blockage on his bladder where his left uterer tube connects from his left kidney to his bladder.  Our doctor, who is really awesome, will go in through a catheter with a tiny camera and a little laser and basically "pop" the cyst and cauterize the area.  That's how I understand it,  still can't get over that they can do this surgery with no incisions, amazing.

So how did they find this cyst?  That's where God's timing gets downright dreamlike.

When I was pregnant with Jude, at our 20 week appointment we went in for a routine ultrasound.  What we, and the ultrasound tech, saw was a healthy baby boy who was growing well and everything looked perfect.  They did notice, however, that my placenta was previa, meaning it was lying too low for me to deliver normally.  My midwife said I would have to go back in to have another ultrasound in 8 weeks and then 6 weeks after that to make sure it had moved enough.    At 28 weeks Jude still looked great but my placenta was still low.  At 34 I went in and my placenta had moved but the tech found something disconcerting with his kidneys. 

She noticed that there was fluid surrounding his left kidney.  When my midwife saw the results and consulted with another doctor they both concluded we needed a more in-depth ultrasound.  In that scan we saw a smiling little boy and definitely a lot of fluid on his left kidney. 



The doctor was very reassuring and told us we would need to have an ultrasound after he was born.   So a few weeks after our beautiful boy was born we headed into the Bellevue Clinic of SCH and had an ultrasound done, which showed the fluid was still there and now there was some swelling on his right.  More doctor calls later (by the way, we have remarkable doctors who really care, our pediatrician called us at 7:30 that night just to let us know what was going on) we had to have a more extensive test done to see if the urine in his bladder was refluxing up into his kidney.  Praise God it was not.

So we met with the pediatric urologist a few weeks later and he told us that surgery was the best option.  He explained that Jude would need to go under general anesthesia and stay overnight so they could monitor his breathing but that the surgery would be quick and rarely ever causes any complications. 

We scheduled the surgery for his first available appointment, December 23rd.  For some people it sounded like a bummer but Noah and I couldn't be more grateful that this surgery will be billed to our insurance in the same year as he was born so our deductibles and such have already been paid.  This is another great big blessing.  So tomorrow morning we head in at 6:45 for his 8 am surgery and will pray for an hour solid that God watches over our little boy, just as He has been since before Jude took his very first breath.  We would love for you to join us in that prayer.




But there is something so much more going on that we would also ask you to pray for.

There are way too many families, for whom spending Christmas at Seattle Children's is just a part of the routine.  There will be families who will be spending their very last Christmas with their beloved child in that hospital.  There will be mothers of brand new babies clinging to life and there will be fathers who pace powerlessly outside emergency surgical rooms.  There will be brothers and sisters who don't know life outside the necessity of hand sanitizer and hospital masks.  There are families who will be saying goodbye for the last time at the moment our son wakes out of his anesthetic fog only to cry in my arms and be comforted by our voices.

So please, pray for our little boy, but more over pray for those families.  Pray for hope, pray for one more day, pray for the release of pain and the miraculous healing of tiny bodies. 

As we waiting in faithful expectation for the light of the world to come crashing into our existence, pray for His light to shine in the midst of  some unimaginable darkness.  Pray that God would open opportunities for us to pray with others whose children won't be able to sit around the Christmas tree with their grandparents like our boys will this Christmas. 

Those children desire your prayers, their parents desire your prayers even if they would never say it.
Jude's middle name is Immanuel - God with us.   This time of year that name comes with a heavenly announcement.  Glad tidings of great joy and the declaration we need not be afraid.  However St. Jude is the patron saint of hospitals and desperate situations.  So we ask that in your faithfulness and glad tidings, you send prayers of light and hope to those in situations much more desperate than ours.

Merry Christmas

Ali, Noah, Soren and Jude


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

P-E-R-S-P-E-C-T-I-V-E spells Relief

Hey moms, dads, singles, couples, those separating and those desperately trying to piece back together, parents, kid-free, kid-hopeful and kid-trying so hard you're becoming despondent; I'm not going to make you read to the end to get the moral of the story, it's this - You're doing fine.

There, that's it.  I have stories about why you're ok and I'm ok and the kids are alright and all those things but truthfully I want you to know you're doing fine.

There are so many people posting articles, much like this one, that are encouraging you to put down your phone and be present, give yourself a minute to pick up your phone and check out, to get the dishes done, to spend a day without doing dishes, to work, to stay home, to let your kids see you fail, to be perfect and in finally doing all those things you'll be doing ok.  But that way of thinking only leads us to believe that failure is our only option because some mom whose house is cleaner, whose bank account is bigger, whose white couch is miraculously stain-free thinks we are failing.  I am not her, you're ok, I'm ok and the fact my son is watching Winnie-the-Pooh ABCs for the 90th time is ok.

In the last week I was hit with some seriously introspection-inducing perspective on a few different occasions and I couldn't help but notice how these themes are resonating in the lives of people around me.  All my stories come from the world-view of being a parent, if this isn't your world view you don't have to read it and still know you're doing fine.



All I Want For Christmas -

As some of you know our son Jude was born with a kidney condition called hydronephrosis for which he needs surgery on December 23rd.  It's a common condition and the miraculous things that have occurred surrounding the condition are beyond amazing and I will tell you more about it later, but initially I was just mad.  I wasn't mad that my tiny baby boy needed surgery I was mad because we'll be in the hospital on Christmas Eve and because Jude can't travel for 4-5 days so we can't go home to Minnesota.  I'm missing meeting my newest nephew, the rest of my family is missing meeting Jude, I'm missing my uncle's wedding, I'm missing this, and that and all the things.

So I prayed, not for a change in perspective but a change in the date of the surgery.  If we could just get in earlier things would be OK.  Then I was struck by what I can only imagine is the Holy Spirit's slapping glove of common sense (it stings a little but it sure snaps you out of a funk).

There will be families in that same hospital, maybe even the next room, who will be spending their very last Christmas with their children.  Seattle Children's Hospital is one of the most premier children's hospitals in the world and they still can't save everyone.  I will be home in my cozy bed by Christmas surrounded by our loving family and I don't have to live in fear that the next call from the hospital will be the worst news I could imagine.  In fact, for my own sanity I choose not to imagine it.  I will miss having my family meet Jude at 2 months old but they'll meet him at 4 or 5 and the fact is they will meet him and he will love them and we're doing OK.

Daily Bread -

About three weeks ago Jude got a cold.  Baby's with colds are usually super snuggly and really sleepy and in about a week things get better and then they hit a growth spurt and are crazy hungry so I was prepping myself for that reality.  So during the first week the fact that Jude would throw-up nearly everything he ate wasn't surprising, post-nasal drip often does that to a baby.  We made sure he was having enough wet diapers every day to prevent dehydration but I didn't think much of it other than resenting the insane amount of laundry I was doing because everything was covered in puke.

But by days seven and eight and nine things weren't getting better.  So on day 10 of constant spitting up gargantuan amounts every day I took him in.  The medical tech put him on the scale and my heart sank.  My chubby little boy who put on four pounds in his first month had only put on an ounce in the last 20 days.  The doctor explained that he was having a really bad bout of reflux and explained some of the things we needed to do to keep the food down, position changes, sleeping in his carseat, etc.  Then he explained that if Jude didn't put weight on in the next four days at the rate of 3/4oz to 1oz per day that we would have to explore other options.  Those options included introducing solids very early, prescription medicine and perhaps even formula.  All of those things terrified me because they weren't how things "should" be.

That night, holding my husband's hand we prayed for our sweet little boy and something came to me, daily bread.  "Lord give him this day his daily bread."  I realized that if it meant that my son could grow normally and not be faced with nutritional difficulties for the rest of his life I would give him anything I could.  Who cares if I had to use formula or rice cereal or baby Zantac (which is currently saving our sleep-lives and his esophagus)?  If it meant daily bread so my son could grow then bring it on.  And that night as I clung to my crying baby boy who was so hungry because he hadn't eaten well in nearly two weeks I wept for the millions of mothers around our world who are literally begging for daily bread for their children.  Mothers who have had to hold their crying babies night after night because they are so hungry and there is nothing their mother can do about it.  For the pain she feels because she feels like she's failing.

No sane person would hold her poverty as failure in the light of the love she has for her family.  Why do we allow ourselves to judge bottle-feeding moms, prescription-needing moms, fill-in-the-blank moms, trying-hard to have kids moms-at-heart, trying hard to keep their kids moms, etc., as failures because we live in a world with so many options available for success.

Eye Contact for Empathy -

My kids have awesome grandparents.  Like seriously awesome.  I got to spend some time one night talking with my father-in-law, Kevin, about the Juniper Junction Relief Nursery, where he is on the board.  This is a place that helps families that are to high risk for child abuse or neglect by providing a few hours a week that gives the parents a break and lets the kids spend quality time with adults who care about them.  They also provide parenting coaching, home visits, a diaper bank and more.  The work they do has been proven to reduce the risk of child abuse in a home by 93%.  Let that number sink in for a minute.

That means the difference between the neglect or abuse of a child and a healthier environment are things like taking a break, access to food, clothing and diapers and someone who cares enough to make sure that child knows they are loved. These, friends, are simple things.

There is a doctor on the board who has done massive studies on the brain development of children before age three and has discovered that the neural pathways that develop characteristics like empathy are fully present or not present at all by age three.  The key to developing these pathways is parental bonding, things like eye contact, non-threatening touch, laughing and play.  (Sorry to dumb it down, I am no doctor)

As I was listening to Kevin talk about the families he works with and how they are coaching parents I couldn't help but think of how embarrassed I would be if someone was telling me how to play with my baby.  Then came in that slapping glove from the Holy Spirit again.  Why?  Why would my pride keep me from being the best parent I could be?  Also, why on earth would I wish shame or embarrassment on parents who are genuinely trying to end the cycle of abuse that many of them suffered as children?

I told Kevin about how much of a relief that story was for me simply because it offered real perspective.  The world I live in, the stay-at-home mom, middle class, white American, educated world, tells me all the time about how I fail at being a parent because my kids aren't bilingual and my son watches tv and knows how to play puzzles on my Kindle and eats non-organic food and how I am not fully fulfilled by being a mom.  But the truth is, in the grand scheme of things my world is very little and very privileged and unsustainably loud in the desire to be heard above the din as the best voice of all things mom.

This perspective was not a "thank goodness I'm not them" but more of an empathy for the moms who are trying so hard to bring their children up out of darkness into light.  An empathy I am capable of because my mom and dad did just fine, an empathy my sons will be capable of because I'm doing fine, my husband is doing fine.

So find empathy, make eye contact with the parents of the world who are in this with us.  Find grace with those who are eager to tell you how different things will be when they have kids.  Practice patience and self-control when the urge to judge another mom/dad/co-worker/barista/bus-boy/beggar on the basis of comparison arises and grant them the benefit of the doubt.  Because too often we of little faith choose doubt over hope, peace, gentleness and love.

But if we live in the knowledge we are ok, you are ok, I am ok and that things will be ok our perspective widens enough that you won't even be able to see if the dishes are done.

Grace and Peace
Ali




Thursday, June 19, 2014

Let's be honest, just not on Facebook.

Lately I have been reading (OK, skimming with intent) a lot of blogposts that people post on Facebook about how fake social media is and how it needs to be more of a place where people can be real.  I have to admit something about that, I disagree.


Let me tell you why I disagree so you can either agree or disagree with my disagreement, agreed?

Facebook is not a private place, no matter how fully you have vetted your friends, I personally have 760 semi-vetted friends, Facebook is a public place.  Think about it, if all those people were in one place and only you were speaking, what would you say?  Would you start a passive-aggressive, one-sided argument concerning your friend, job or significant other?  Would you stand up on a soap-box and make blanketed political or religious statements that people would have to refute or agree with in limited space without vocal inflections or body language.  Would you constantly complain about the state of your waistline, or struggles of marriage, or dissatisfaction with your job, or the failings of your children and how they reflect on you?  Or would you keep it light?

If you scrolled through my Facebook feed you would see funny anecdotes about parenting, photos from my photography business and small quippy interactions with my family members.  My instagram feed contains mostly photos of my son, a few of my business and rarely what I eat unless it's from Trader Joe's and the world should know that that place is a crack dealership for pregnant ladies.

Occasionally I thank my husband for his thoughtful gestures and his heroics in parenting and the fact he still loves me even when my crazy pregnant-lady hormones render me a creature somewhere between a well-fed mogwai before midnight and a gluttonous gremlin after midnight.

But, please don't take this to mean that everything is always puppy dogs and rainbows.  It just means I don't discuss things that deserve honest discussions in a place where people also post photos of selfies next to hamburgers.

On my Facebook you won't see me reacting immediately to a fight with my husband that just happened because no good can come from posting the following "Ali Hormann is feeling frustrated.  It would be great if some husbands learned the value behind a truly clean toilet."*

It's not that Noah and I have never argued over the state of our bathroom, or bedroom, or living room, or kitchen, or the inside of the car, or whose turn it was to empty the dreaded diaper pail (which he does very faithfully more often than not).  It's because putting that piece of information up in a public place gives him no recourse for discussion or defense, making him the bad guy and me the sinless martyr in the land of Tidy Bowl battles.  Also, there isn't likely to be any helpful responses, only ones that validate my complaint and continue to belittle his efforts to be truly himself.  Not to mention neither of our identities are rooted in the the cleanliness of our biffy.

But when the quarrels go past toilets and laundry, when they get heated and start aiming at the heart of our actual identities, we have real people whom we trust to talk to about that.  We have actual community that we depend on to confide in and to give counsel regarding our marriage.

You won't see me ask for too much parenting advice not because I don't need it badly but because I call my sister on a tri-weekly basis so that I can pick her brain about how she has survived having three kids and sometimes I think one might just do me in.  I trust her, and my other sisters and my mom and other moms that I close with to give me guidance and empathy in the raising of my boys.

You're not going to see me pinning articles on my Pinterest about how to survive the life of being a pastor's wife or how to politely bite your tongue when people doubt your husband at this job.  The truth is an experienced community of friends who are all going through the same life of service as well as those who have lived and even thrived through it is more valuable than the following -


Although I have to admit, I chuckled at that one.  (Caveat, I am blessed to be a pastor's wife in a church who has never expected more of me than I could give, this is more in reference to specific people.)

But in all honesty, it's a tough job to watch your spouse work his whole life for a career that won't pay what it cost to learn what he did and then have people doubt him to his face and behind his back and not be able to rake those people over the coals.*  It's lonely to know how much my life and what I say becomes a direct reflection of my husband whether it is intended to be or not.  It gives me new perspective to what it must have been like for my parents telling me that my actions reflected on them.  Sorry mom and dad, my bad.

I don't start political discussions because there is no need for that kind of stress in my life.  I know that people will disagree, some vehemently, some silently but if there is anything I have learned from growing up in a family that never argued about politics its the fact that no political issue is worth breaking a relationship over.


You won't see me give one sentence statements like, "I can't take it anymore," or "I'm done," begging for a community to explain them to.  Because I have a community that I can confide feelings of despair in.  That isn't a statement saying "haha, I have people and you don't."  It's a challenge to invest in the people who will earn your trust slowly but surely, and they will probably break your trust as well.  They will probably tick you off and get under your skin, but the investment is necessary.

Because, folks, Facebook isn't real community.  If you're part of a group of like-minded individuals it can feel like it and if that's all you've got for now, keep moving forward to find the faces of those you can tell all your real stuff to.

If you'd like to see pictures of my family and my photography clients, hear funny things I've over heard and the occasional moving quote, however, please stay my friend.  The 760 of you in that public part of my life will be glad to know I won't be informing you any time soon of the number of hours I worry that I'm killing my kid's brain cells by letting him watch TV so I can sleep.  Or about how I'm afraid of raising a kid who yells because sometimes I need to yell and too often it comes out in frustration.  Or about how many of the confessions on www.scarymommy.com are really mine.  Or about as glad as I am that we are having another baby in September, I wish I could have just one margarita.  Or how sometimes I don't want to breastfeed simply so I can have that margarita.  Or how I dole out unsolicited advice even though I feel like punching people in the face to who give it to me.  Or how it has taken me weeks to write this post because I'm still not sure I should publish it.

My social media is not my life, it is the conversation I have in public with the lady at the bus stop or my barista or a friend I bump into over coffee when all we want to do is catch up.

If you're looking for real me, it'll take way more than 140 characters.  And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt there are no emoticons to fully describe who you are.


*Two footnotes - 

  1. If I ask my husband to clean the toilet he does so without complaint, I love him for that.
  2. Ministry is a place full of both advocates and adversaries, we have been blessed to have more of the former.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Meet Kati

This is Kati, say hi!



How cute is she?!?!  I "met" her on Christmas Eve this past year.  She has the same birthday as my son, even though she's a little older.  Those big brown eyes looked at me through a computer screen and I was enraptured.  She looked a little like what Soren looks like when he is confused about why I keep taking his picture and it made me smile.  At the same time, I wanted to just jump though space and go hug her!

Oh, wait, I have a video of Kati and her mom, it's amazing.  Here, take a look and tell me your heart doesn't just melt into a puddle.  Click here.  

Right?!?!

From what I know of her, she loves playing with dolls and is still too young to go to school so she helps around the house by running errands.  (That is a characteristic I hope is instilled into all three-year-olds since right now my 18 month old falls down in protest if I ask him to pick up a book.)  She has one brother and is blessed enough to live with both her parents.  Her parents both work as market vendors but have a very hard time making ends meet.  She lives in the most underdeveloped region of one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world, the Equator province of Congo, a country that has been ravaged by civil wars for the better part of two decades. 

She is a child my family and I sponsor through World Vision.  We sponsored her as a Christmas "gift" for Soren so that he can get her presents for Christmases in the future.  With all hope and faith we pray that we get at least 15 more Christmases with Kati, I hope my children view her as a sister, I hope her family is safe and I hope one day I can thank her for helping rescue me, if only a little, from my ideals of what is comfortable.   

Prepare yourself, this is going to be a long one.

Recently, the president of the U.S. office of World Vision stated that they are hiring LGBT employees who are married.  I could really go on forever about why I think this is an ethically sound business decision, but I'm not going to.  I'm going to try my best to Minnesota-nice-yell at some people.  If you don't know what that is, it's talking very firmly, slowly and with many pauses because I'm going to try restrain my words but I also want your full attention and for you to know I'm serious.  This is how we yell, so don't for a minute think that my lack of caps-locked verbiage means I'm being flippant, it is the opposite, this is me heart-attack serious.  

I wrote about how weepy I have been lately, but the response from evangelicals upset over this announcement has caused me to strain in order try and hold everything in because I'm not sure I could pick myself up off the floor in time for work tomorrow if I were to let the tears go.  If you haven't heard, people are pulling out of the promises they made to these kids and their futures because there is a possibility that a woman who is married to another woman may have put the stamp on the letters they send to their sponsored children.

I have so many expletives that want to pour out of my mouth right now it's scaring even me.  But since my mom might read this and I have high hopes for her opinion of me, I won't type them.  Instead, I'll let some scripture do some talking.  The people who are pulling their sponsorships are talking about how hurt they are that World Vision isn't following the biblical rules.  This is what Jesus had to say about those who cared more about the rules than the people: (Matthew 23:13-24,27 emphasis is mine)

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.  Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?  Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.  You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel." "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean."

Uncomfortable yet?  Good.

This is not a debate on the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality.  This is a war on our own blindness to the fact that we would prefer a set of rules rather than a mysterious, all-loving, all-merciful, all-righteous God who has never asked us to defend Him, He's big enough to do that on His own.  He has however, commanded us to defend His creation without regard to our opinion on whether or not they deserve our protection.  He is the sanctifier of the gold we hold back because it means more to us than the temple we bring it to, as if it was ever ours to begin with.

I have heard people say that there are other organizations that sponsor children without "questionable employment practices."  True, there are organizations like that, but what about these children?  They are not commodities or disposable feel-good sayings or refrigerator magnets kept to make us feel better about the fact there is more food in our fridge than they will see this month.  THEY ARE CHILDREN!!  Beautiful, lovable, giggling, crying, starving and sick children who are fearfully and wonderfully made.

So go ahead, play the video again, look into her eyes and tell her that she doesn't deserve my help because the channels that make sure she has food, clothing, access to medicine and an education don't fit into to your perfect set of rules that mirror your perfect reflection.  If that's the case, you're nothing but a whitewashed tomb, looking good on the outside but filled with the stench of death inside.

In Kati's country, more than 2.5 million children have died since 1998 in the fighting alone.  To put that into perspective, that is more than all U.S. military casualties in all U.S. wars since the Revolutionary War. [*]  So if you were to add that number to the 465,000 [*] children that die in that country each year from preventable disease and starvation, the statistic is staggering.  If we go from that 1998 mark, the number of child casualties is 9,940,000. That number is unimaginable, so let me give you a scenario to imagine it.

Think of September 11, 2001.  Think of where you were when you saw the flames rise from those towers, think of the horror that shook your entire being when you saw them fall, think of the tears you shed for the lives lost.  This isn't a cynical take on our American idealism, that day was a tragedy.  Think of what it was like to read the newspaper printed with the names of 2,996 sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, children and friends.  Honestly conjure up the emotion that came with the inevitability of war, the fear that came with the knowledge that evil got past our defenses, the camaraderie that you felt with your neighbor because all of a sudden you were standing against a common wickedness.  Think of how encouraging it was to see people from all sides of politics, religion, economic status, ideology, and generational gaps come together to give blood, give money, give of their homes and goods to make sure that this never happened again.  Think of the young  men and women who signed up to fight and give their lives for such a cause as this.  For a brief moment we all had a common goal and looked our neighbors in the eye like they weren't the strangers we shut out with our garage door openers.

The number of children who have died in Congo in the last 16 years is equivalent to filling those twin towers with 2,996 children and crashing them EVERY DAY for the next NINE YEARS.    

I would say I'm sorry about the caps lock but I'm not, this kind of thing needs to be yelled about.  That is only one country, who are we to take anything from them?  How dare we not cross our ideological lines for such a tragedy?      

But there is another victim here, the workers who ache in their very being to help these children and live out the Matthew 25:31-46 gospel.  They want nothing more than to see clean water, food, education, shelter and freedom from the fear of slavery reach third-world countries and we have told them they aren't included in the call to feed His sheep.  Why?

Tell me this, is the LGBT employee of World Vision any less created in the image of God than you, or me or Kati or her mom who has undoubtedly rubbed her crying child's back as Kati tried to sleep but couldn't because she was so hungry.  Is that employee a good enough reason for me to not want to do everything I can to make sure a fellow mother never has to worry that her children have enough to eat?  Why?

Why?

Our rules are strangling us, they are stifling our ability to be passionate and still measured.  We have raised up the idol of legalism before the one who carved His commandments into stone, then we used those graven images to nail His son to a cross and reminded Him we deserved it more than "them." 

The apostle Paul says it best in Philippians 3:4b-14 - "If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."

He was the best of the rule followers and he said all that those Sunday School attendance badges earned Him were considered "garbage." If you were to translate that word into literal common-day English, that would would be "s**t."  Again, my mom is reading this, and if she's gotten this far, I love you mom.

Above all of it, feed the hungry, care for the sick, love your neighbor, love the God who made them all and make no excuses.

This is easy for me to say in my warm house but I am continually convicted about my comfort level and sponsoring Kati is a small step forward on that journey.

The best thing is, when the day comes and Jesus cracks the sky, returning like lightning to set His world right, you and I and all those in this argument will be humbled to the point of feeling nothing but fear and trembling in hopes of being found holy in His sight.  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord and none of us are exempt from that.  

Until then, feed His sheep.

With hope and a good song,
Ali
Farther Along by Josh Garrels on Grooveshark

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Diary of a weepy mom

So the news is out, we are pregnant with baby #2 and while I get to do fun things like throw up if I chew too much, Noah gets the day in and day out task of listening to me cry.  This is something new to this pregnancy, and there have, in the last 10 weeks, been many legitimate reasons to cry in my life.

Don't worry, I'm not going to rail you with sob stories and hope that in the end you and I are simultaneously healed of all previous hurt, I hope to make you laugh.  Because truthfully, I didn't experience these with Soren, which makes it even stranger when I'm walking through Fred Meyer and begin to get choked up at the fact I can't pull off really red lipstick.

So here they are, volume one of the things that have made me weepy so far, I hope they make you cry with laughter.


  1. The physics of speed skating - That's right, I was listening to an NPR piece on the physics of speed skating in the Olympics and began to cry in my car because of how amazing physics really is. I mean think about it, gravity, inertia, torque, they might as well be a Nicholas Sparks novel.
  2. My lack of a miter saw - My good friend Kiersten called and asked if we had a miter saw because she had to trim her new blinds.  We don't.  The sheer injustice of not having that tool for my friend to borrow was too much for me that day, so I cried, a lot.
  3. Cronuts - They aren't the legitimate ones from NYC but they came in a box of four for $5 and I didn't have to walk any further into the store to get my pastry fix.  I was so glad that Jesus obviously was looking out for me that day, seeing as He is always interested in my parking spots, fried pastry cravings and powerball numbers, I wept over that fried, glazed, croissant-donut hybrid like He did at Lazarus' tomb.  
  4. Ben Kingsley and I aren't friends - I had a really vivid dream one night that Sir Kingsley and I were at his house sharing recipes and jokes and dipping our toes into his mid-living room zen pool, talking about what it was like to do Sneakers, it was the best of times.  Sadly, I awoke to realize there was no real chance of us becoming friends and that is upsetting no matter if you're pregnant or not.
  5. Nepal in the Olympics - No, Nepal won no medals.  But I was watching to opening ceremony and the guy who was holding the flag from Nepal was a brick-layer by trade who was tapped by the Nepalese government to train for three months to become a cross-country skiier.  I find that story amazing and frankly I would have rather listened to Bob Costas tell me that story through beleaguered and puffy eyes than just hear Matt Lauer say, "He won't win, he's just here for his country."  NBC!!!  Don't tell me more about Bode Miller's self-imposed sob story, tell me the story about the brick layer from Nepal!  They didn't, so I cried.
  6. McDonalds cheeseburgers - I have a really hard time eating meat in my first trimester so like all good first-world, pressured to be thin, healthy eating, kale craving, pinterest pinning, guilt-ridden, snack-sneaking pregnant moms I have tried getting my protein in healthy ways. However, one day last week the lack of meat was just too much and I needed something.  For me, the smell of it cooking is enough to drive me away so I needed something with little meat that I didn't have to smell and could consume quickly, enter two measly McDonald's cheeseburgers which I ate in the parking lot in my car in utter shame mixed with nauseous relief.  Seriously moms, this crap has to stop.
  7. Last but not least - Climate Change - I have shed more than a few unnecessary but  still real tears over people's stupid, yes stupid, Facebook statuses that say something along the lines of "Boy, I sure wish Global Warming would show up here soon!"  No one uses the term Global Warming any more, it's called Climate Change. Just because it isn't warm where you are doesn't mean the carbon we emit into the atmosphere isn't changing it.  And think about it, a Climate is a measure of weather trends over a long span, say ten years.  If ten years ago your southern state wasn't having blizzards in January and they are now, that would be an example of Climate Change.  Stop fighting it, your ignorance is making me angry cry.
So that's my list for now, I'm sure it will go on.  I know you can make all the suppositions you like from the fact I'm so weepy and you can give me all the "non-weepy" mommy advice you like.  But until you can tell me about the man from Nepal, you'll probably just make me cry :)

I hope you laughed.