Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doing the Happy Dance

"Once upon a time,
on the north shore of Long Island...

there lived a small girl on a large estate."

~Sabrina Fairchild~

As a hobby, my hubby does movie reviews online.

So the UPS guy drops random movies on my doorstep.

Today he left these... oh yipee, I'm doing the happy dance right now!!

Tonight I'll be watching Audrey Hepburn featurettes until I can't keep my eyes open.

And...

"At midnight, I'll turn into a pumpkin

and drive away in my glass slipper."

~Princess Ann~

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Heart for the Unborn: Part 3

(Read part 1 here and part 2 here.)


For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:13-14



I don't remember when I first began to develop a heart for the unborn. I suppose it was during elementary school. As a child, I remember wondering why mothers were taking their babies' lives... I suppose it was because I wasn't that many years removed from being a baby myself and I took it very personally. My mother had told me stories of the 3 miscarriages she had suffered between my brother and I. She held two of the tiny, perfectly formed babies, a girl and a boy, in the palm of her hand and wondered at all their beautifully developed features. Early on, I was told that my birth was a blessing and an unexpected miracle to her and my dad. As a result, it didn't make sense to me that a woman would want to purposely take her own child's life.



It wasn't long before I discoved that my beliefs about the sanctity of life in the womb were quite unpopular. In the eighth grade I prepared a speech on the topic of abortion, hoping that if fellow students understood the truths behind this procedure, surely they would be influenced to make good choices in the future. Many boys were curious to see the gory pictures (I think it was the shock value) and were surprised to actually be able to make out dismembered arms and legs. Several comments were uttered, such as, "Oh, I thought it was just a blob of tissue, but look that's an arm..."



Most of the girls didn't want to look. And then there were those who were visibly angered, and told me that what I had said was not true and that it wasn't any of my business what they wanted to do with their own bodies. For the next couple of days, I became the topic of conversation and the target of mean stares and embittered comments.



For many years, I made the pridefilled assumption that women who were pro-choice were either heartless or ignorant. College years and my twenties introduced me to about a dozen women, friends who had chosen to abort their babies. The issue took on a face and a life as I learned these women's stories and how they had arrived at their decisions. There were some who thought they were too young to mother a child and couldn't fathom any other option, others who had been convinced abortion was an acceptable form of birth control, others who were ashamed to tell their families, and most who had been told by Planned Parenthood representatives that they were making a good "choice."


All of the stories had a common conclusion. Each of the women struggled with tremendous guilt and pain spiritually and emotionally, and sometimes physically. Each woman deeply regretted the choice she had made and wished she could go back and do things differently. And each woman found forgiveness and healing through her Savior... Jesus Christ. In time, He diminished their pain and they laid their children in His hands.


During my college years, I also met a darling woman named Dene. Her husband was in my wedding, and was one of the first real friends Patrick had in his Christian journey. One weekend we went to Dene's house for a birthday party and a photo hanging on the wall caught my attention. It was a little girl shaking hands with the President... I believe it was Ronald Reagan. When I asked Dene about it, she told me about her adopted sister, Gianna, who had been aborted, but survived the saline procedure. Gianna has since become one of my heroes in the faith, not just because she is a pro-life advocate and the actual voice of the unborn, but because she has a deep compassion for the women who carry them. She unashamedly speaks of the grace of Jesus and asks us to consider our stance on the issue in light of what He speaks through her miraculous survival.


I hope you'll take the time to be blessed and challenged by her message...

(Note: Before you listen, please scroll down to the bottom of the blog and pause the music... then you'll be able to fully hear Gianna's voice!!)



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Family Portrait



We hung out at the Avila Valley Barn today.

I was hoping to capture a good family portrait.

Many thanks to the stranger that captured it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Heart for the Unborn: Part 2

(Read Part 1 here)




Sons are a heritage from the LORD,


children a reward from him.


Psalm 127:3


On the days when I am struggling the most with my relationships with my boys, I remind myself of this verse. My flesh and the world around me tempt me to think of them as a burden or a sacrifice of time and energy, but God sees them as a blessing and a legacy. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14 Oh, how I want to be continually humbled in this manner, to have my Savior's heart for my children every moment. I fail and I confess... and God continually teaches me and refines me.



As my pregnancy with Jason progressed, I asked the Lord to help me through my prenatal experiences at the doctor's office. About halfway through, I got the results of the triple screen test I had taken, so we would be aware of any genetic abnormalities and make any preparations necessary. My doctor called and said there was an increased risk for Down's Syndrome and that she wanted me to go in for genetic counseling.



Patrick and I went in together. The genetic counselor was very matter of fact and described chromosomal abnormality related to Down's. She suggested that we schedule an amniocentesis to conclusively determine if we had a Down's baby and with that knowledge, we would have the opportunity to abort our child. I expressed that I didn't feel comfortable doing a test that could possibly harm the baby or induce a miscarriage. Was there any other way we could prepare ourselves to know if this was possibly a Down's baby?



The counselor's response was quite harsh. She said we could have ultrasounds to see if the baby was measuring accurately. Then, she proceeded to tell me that I shouldn't have had the test in the first place. If I wasn't willing to have further testing done, I shouldn't have bothered at all. I explained that I just wanted to prepare my heart ahead of time for any differences from the norm. Narrowing her eyes, she suggested that next time around, I shouldn't waste anyone's time. If I wasn't willing to abort the baby, the test wasn't necessary as far as she was concerened. Patrick could see my temper beginning to boil, and shot me the "it isn't worth it" look, so I calmed down and thanked the counselor for her input. It was an unexpected education... I hadn't realized that the term genetic counseling implied such blatant abortion advocacy.


A couple of days ago, my mom asked, "Do you remember what Patrick said when you told him the baby might have Down's Syndrome?"



I admitted I couldn't recall, exactly.


He said, "God will teach us to love in a whole new way, won't He?" I love that man.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fairies & Fancies





My friend, Jamie, recently posted a beautiful collage she created at polyvore.com.



So I thought I'd try it since I'm stuck at home with a nasty illness.



It didn't make my throat feel any better, but...



I have to admit that it was pretty fun being girly.



It's kind of Audrey Hepburn meets Beatrix Potter...

Don't you think?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Heart for the Unborn: Part 1


Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down

from the Father of the heavenly lights,

who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17


Four years ago, Patrick was layed off from a job where he'd only been gainfully employed for about a month. I felt as though someone had punched me in the gut, and then a general feeling of nausea persisted for the next few days. As we struggled to trust in God's sovreign plan, the nausea just didn't subside. One pregnancy test later, I confirmed that we were indeed jobless and expecting. We laughed at the ironic comedy of it all. God has amazing timing, doesn't He? This would surely be a lesson in believing that.


Unsure of how we should break the news to my folks, we did what any jobless, expecting couple would do... we told Josh to tell the big secret. My mom, in true form, cried tears of joy, and my dad smiled and said, "Well, finally, some good news!!" Their reaction was such a great encouragement to our hearts. The miracle of this new little life was a great gift in the midst of a trial...

It was cause for rejoicing and hope for the future.

The circumstances surrounding my pregnancy with Jason made for a very different prenatal care experience than I'd had with Josh. We filed for unemployment and Medi-Cal, as well, since we had no insurance, and no one wanted to insure a pregnant woman at a reasonable rate. This meant a change in my OBGYN and the office staff I was so familiar and comfortable with.


The new office was cold and clinical. The office assistant seemed devoid of emotion as she handed me a pile of paperwork to fill out. There were so many questions about whether I was using drugs or drinking. I felt as though they were assuming the worst of me.


My new doctor greeted me with professionalism, but no sense of warmth. I remember feeling as though I had done something wrong, and I fought feelings of shame. I desperately wanted her to congratulate me and show excitement for this new life, but instead she asked how I felt about the baby and whether or not it was even wanted.


"Yes it is wanted. We are so excited about this baby," I said as my face reddened and my eyes began to sting.


I tried not to allow the tears which were welling up in my eyes spill over onto my cheeks. As I left the office, I decided that the joy of the Lord would have to be my strength.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Favorite Fall Flourishes

Last night I pulled out a few little
Fall Flourishes

Leaves in the hurricane glasses


Berries for the napkins


But I have a definite favorite

I look forward to these little treasures every Autumn


No, not pumpkins...




They don't make my heart giddy
(although Jason does!)


These gems are so ugly, they're cute...


My little flock of gourds


Only a mother could love these silly little fellows



Oh, the bumpy, lumpy goodness



Thank you, Lord, for the gourd!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I'm still here...

Wow, it's been a while since the last post!! Sorry, I've been painting and painting and painting some more!! The boys' rooms, my room, and a bookshelf!! And we replaced the carpet... more on that later!! All in the same week an a half... are we crazy?? My house still looks like we are either moving out or moving in... boxes and stuff everywhere!! It's mayhem, I tell you, but we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks to you friends who shared verses!!! I happened to have enough bookmarks left for all of you!! So Nicole, Colleen, Denise, Liz and Sarah M. .... you can email me your info at mrsz500@yahoo.com , and I'll send you a lovely, laminated bookmark! Drea and Jen, I'll catch you two at church!! And by the way, Drea, your "Pleated Poppy" clips were very cute today!! Looking forward to hearing from you, friends!!
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