Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Gray Areas

Craig and I finally went on a date tonight, it had been 7 months since the last time out with no kid. We went to Silver City, which in hindsight wasn't the best choice as it's SO loud. We could hardly have a conversation. So, next time we'll go somewhere quieter. Then we went and saw the movie Killers. It was cute and suprisingly had a lot of action. Pretty predictable, but we liked it.

I feel frustrated and kind of torn about something. As a Christian I believe there are a lot of gray areas that we live in, where we should allow God to speak to us about what is best for us and our situation. Of course there are black and whites and plenty of those, too, but I think there is a lot of gray. We all come from different childhoods, different life experiences, different viewpoints, and because of these differences- what is right for one person may not be right for another and vice versa.

For instance (and as a truly random example), when I'm not pregnant or breastfeeding I don't have any issue with having a glass of wine or a raspberry framboise beer (it's SO delicious). I have no issues with drinking too much and never have. But, that being said, it may be something that another person should absolutely stay away from and not go near. I have many friends and family members for which that is their conviction and I whole heartedly support it. That doesn't mean I should try to convince them that one beer is fine or that they should convince me that drinking is taboo. This is a gray area in which we are allowd to have different convictions and should respect each other. It doesn't make me a bad Christian for having a drink any more than it makes someone else a bad Christian for not drinking at all.

I just feel sometimes like people use Christianity as a reason to push their convictions on other people in a way that states them as 'fact'. That saddens me because honestly, these legalistic rules are what non-believers HATE about Christians. Where does the legalism leave room for God to speak to someone's heart about something? I do feel that on the black and white issues (ie; infidelity, murder/abortions, abuse, drug use, etc) as brothers and sisters in Christ it is absolutely Biblical to approach someone with truth and love. At the same time I feel that in the gray areas (what movies we watch, what foods we eat, what cars we drive, where we live, what music we listen to, etc) it is possible to overstep boundaries and put your mouth into a place where God deserves and desires the right to speak, and for all you know, He may already have.

I am tough, I can take it. But when I am called out as 'less than a Christian' or a 'deceived supposedly strong Christian woman' it kind of ticks me off. Other people watch what we do, what we say, and most of all how we live our lives. They see when we judge someone SO harshly for a gray area and so in that regard it ticks me off to see another Christian call me or someone else out on a gray area because you know what? Non-believers see this behavior and it's just another reason why they don't want to be a part of our community. What I hope for my non-believing friends is for them to see joy, love, respect, and compassion; from me to them and also amongst me and my Christian friends. It seems a great disservice for a believer to jump on another believer and then to do it in front of non-believers on top of it! Ugh. I have many friends and in the past, many co-workers, who don't have a personal relationship with Jesus. I know many of them have been hurt by a church or people that call themselves Christians. So it frustrates me and makes me sad to think that we as Christians might stand in the way of someone seeing God's great love and compassion and see Christianity as a book of rules and 'license for legalism' among communities of believers. This isn't God's design.

I think there is also a compass for how well we know someone and if they've given us the freedom and right to speak into their life. I don't have this relationship with every Christian or friend and not everyone has this right with me. It is earned. I don't know, this blog may not make sense since I'm not exactly putting a context to it, but I'm trying to hold my tongue because it's honestly the general situation that is bothering me and not necessarily the specific situation that happened recently.

My general thought is that we (me included) need to remember that just because we feel a very strong conviction about something, it doesn't mean it's not a gray area for someone else. Not every issue is a heaven or hell issue. In these cases let's hold our tongues and if we really feel so strongly about something...pray about it!

Romans 14:1-13 ESV

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. ...

Romans 14:5-8 (Today's New International Version)

5 Some consider one day more sacred than another; others consider every day alike. Everyone should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Those who regard one day as special do so to the Lord. Those who eat meat do so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and those who abstain do so to the Lord and give thanks to God. 7 For we do not live to ourselves alone and we do not die to ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

 John 13:35 puts it well, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." Enough said.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

18 1/2 weeks

Happy First Official Day of Summer everyone (ok well it was actually the day before, but today's the day with sun!)! It was beautiful today. Eliana and I were outside for at least 2 hours today. I'm sure we'll get outside tomorrow too, it's basically her favorite place to be; anywhere outside :)
I planted corn and sweet banana peppers yesterday from seed. Hopefully they grow like crazy! Everything else seems to be doing really well, except I'm having a hard time keeping my green bean plants watered enough. I'll keep at it.

Today I majorly scored with finding a posting for three size 2 Bella Bands for $10 total on Craigslist. And the lady lived right on Bucklin Hill, perfect! I picked them up and honestly thought they might be really worn out or an off brand, but they are in great condition and even smell good- and are actually "Bella Band". Sweet! I had almost bought one from Target the other day but of course was too cheap to let myself. So this seemed like such a cool blessing to just randomly see the posting.

After that I went to my monthly OB appointment (I'm 18 1/2 weeks). Today was the day for quad screen bloodwork so hopefully a whole week will go by and I won't hear anything since no news is good news. We also heard out little one's heartbeat again. It was kicking and moving around and sounded happy.

I'm thrilled with my weight- still down 2lbs from when I got pregnant. After I was weighed I asked the nurse how much I was up and she said, "are you kidding me hon? You haven't even broke even, you're still down 2lbs!" SWEET. My dr feels really good about my weight and says at this rate we're moving in the right direction for me to be able to labor spontaneously and not deal with preeclampsia. I'm really excited about that as it's been my prayer since day 1. I also asked about the possibility that I was maybe not designed to have epidurals since my last one only worked for a few hours and then abruptly stopped working when I dilated to a 7. My dr said there is a very real possibility that I may in a group of women whose bodies just don't work that well with epidurals. I told her I'd like to mentally prepare for a natural childbirth and she agreed that would be a great option (aka best) for me and commented that if things change or my labor is really drawn out I can always ask for medication as Plan B. So, I'm glad and we are in agreement- natural labor is definitely my Plan A :) YAY ! Ok, so it's a little scary, too, but honestly I did it with Elly anyway. I figure I can handle just about anything for 12 or so hours.....and Elly's labor was over 50 hours- yeesh! Our bodies are designed to deliver babies and speaking in general terms- our bodies won't grow a baby bigger than we are capable of delivering (gestational diabetes aside).

Oh, and our ultrasound is on July 1st, so cross your fingers that our little one won't be crossing their legs :) It's a little weird actually because we found out Elly's gender on July 2nd- only one day different.

Time continues to fly and it's totally surreal that we'll have a newborn soon!

And on the insurance front, I am now covered under a Regence plan with a $1000 deductible instead of $5k. It's about $220 a month which kind of sucks, but I was spending way more than that a month on medical bills anyway. Eliana is now covered through the state. Not exactly sure what all is covered, but it seems pretty good and even has dental. Yay!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Unfeminist

So, not to be too dark and dreary, but I was reading an article in World Magazine today about China's 1 child per family policy and it was truly heartbreaking. A mother shared a story of getting pregnant and not having a birth permit. She had no choice but to go to a rural village and try to hide. The authorities found out she was pregnant and she was taken to a disgusting hospital and held in a room with many other moms in her same position. Then they forced an abortion on her. Her baby was near full term and she had to lay there and watch them pull and cut the child apart and throw it in the garbage. Her testimony at a town hall type meeting was that although her body took only a year to heal, pyschologically and spiritually she will never fully heal and that she's only found peace through becoming a Christian and having a personal relationship with Jesus. WOW. There were more details in the story but I'm trying to keep it less gruesome for the blogging crew. I guess it just really made me grateful to live in a country where we have such basic human rights as not being forced to have abortions. I can't even imagine going through what that woman did. Of course America is flawed and there is a lot that needs change and reform. However, I don't fear repercussions from getting pregnant or saying something the government will arrest or kill me for. These are considered basic rights to Americans, but yet in other countries in this very moment people have no rights. Be grateful for all we have, right?

I know I haven't talked much about breastfeeding lately and that's just because I'm not currently breastfeeding :) In another 5 months it'll be fresh on my mind again. I did however join a Boycott Redbook page on Facebook yesterday. I commented on this blog about an obnoxious and offensive article against breastfeeding in one of the recent magazines and apparently it's now posted online, too. Ugh. And then on top of that they've stated it's best for the husband to not be present during the birthing process. Um, what??? This is just so archaic and bizarre. The controversy about the breastfeeding article is because the author has cancer and was told to breastfeed for 6 weeks or less so she can get back on her cancer meds. I am not disputing the validity or importance of her situation in the slightest. What is frustrating about the article is that the author takes her specific (and might I say fairly rare) situation and uses it as fuel on why 'breastfeeding sucks and why it's ok to give your baby formula........especially since it makes your boobs sag and causes huge nipples'. And yes, Redbook did say those things! I just feel that it takes us back 20 years to when women's lib started and breastfeeding became uncool, unprogessive, and something that poor people did. Thank you Redbook for taking us back to that awful, selfish time!
According to Unicef, this is the hierarchy of nutrition:

1. Milk at the Mother's Breast

2. Mother's Pumped Milk in a Bottle

3. Donated Milk from Another Mother

4. Infant Formulas
That makes infant formula's actually the 4th choice, not 2nd as people assume.
Just today I saw this: about Perchlorate, a chemical that is used to create jet fuel and is known to cause thyroid disease, being found in infant formula!
How scary is that? I just think it's become so faux paus to talk negatively about using formula, but I personally (just my opinion folks, feel free to start your own blog!) think that we have milk ducts for a reason and that it's unacceptable to use formula because you're afraid your boobs will sag (that happens eventually no matter what), or your nipples will get bigger, or your date nights with hubby will be interrupted, or you just can't be bothered to fight through the sometimes very tough first few weeks. There are those that have chosen breast surgeries and therefore limited themselves in their feeding options (not talking about breast cancer, I am so sorrowful for those mamas!).
I have wanted a breast reduction for almost 10 years, seriously. But even at 18 I knew that I wanted to breastfeed someday and I personally couldn't make the decision to do something for myself when it would hinder my choices later. I hope to get the surgery someday when I'm done having and breastfeeding kids.
I just think in other cultures it's so normal to breastfeed and people don't even question whether they will or not; the older mom's teach the younger moms, you watch your aunts and cousins breastfeed,etc. It's part of who they are as mom's and it's expected, but in the best way possible- nurturing and loving your children the way God made you to. In America we are all so self focused. What house we want, what car we want, what vacation we want, what personal dream or accomplishment we need to's all about OUR needs and wants. We as women are encouraged to go to school, get a career, not wait around for a man or anyone (often God is included in that, like 'who needs Him!')- do our own thing! It's feminism still at work. I did go to school, both high school and college and had a 3.97 in highschool and 4.0 in college. I did have jobs and even a good paying, well benefited one when I got pregnant. However, for me personally the drive to have a career and all that jazz will never match my desire to love and raise my children with my own two hands. But the mentality that is encouraged in America makes women seem old fashioned or weak if they choose to put their kids before their job, manicures, tanning appointments, girls nights, etc....and thus makes it faux paus to make a big deal about breastfeeding not only being the 'standard', but being clearly the best- for mom, baby, and budget. Women deserve a 'choice' right? I will be unpopular and say not always. Should we make choices about where we work, who we marry, what we wear, where we practice our faith, what we say, where we live, how many kids we have, etc? A RESOUNDING YES. But the whole, 'stay out of it, let people make their own choices' seems like hogwash to me sometimes. Why are all the contaminates in formula not being put all over the news? Because it's faux paus. No one wants to be made to feel bad about their choices.
So, I commented on the Boycott Redbook page that 'difficulty in breastfeeding doesn't make quitting or not breastfeeding a good choice', and I received a scathing hate message from a mom about it, calling it an obnoxious rant. Does "difficulty in breastfeeding doesn't make quitting or not breastfeeding a good choice" sound like a rant? It is a very mild comment compared to other comments posted on the wall. I replied to the woman, "Have a nice day." Apparently a kind word does turn away wrath because after that she tried to apologize and just ended up putting her foot in her mouth worse. Whatever. I was proud of myself for holding my tongue and not going off on her for her ignorance.
I don't mean to be unempathic or rude. That's not my intent. I'm simply irritated and tired of all the excuses for not breastfeeding, especially the ones that are based on the physical appearance of one's breasts! Mastitis, flat nipples, inverted nipples, clogged ducts, inadequate milk supply, mother going through surgery, super preemie baby, failure to thrive baby, ETC, you name it and I've heard it at LLL and I've watched those mom's struggle and end up conquering and feeling such pride in themselves and their babies. Those mother's then become the best advocates for breastfeeding and share their wealth of knowledge with other moms. I can't help but think that was God's intent. He created us to live in community and that includes women and mothering :) I won't lie and say that breastfeeding is always easy. It's not. It was not for me. It has been simple for some of my friends but honestly it's been more of a challenge with the majority- at least with the first baby. I think it's kind of normal. You have to learn how to do it, your breasts have to learn how to do it, and that teeny little baby has to learn how to do it. Give it time, give yourself time, and you'll get it. I'm SO proud of you dear friends who have faced huge obstacles in breastfeeding and have educated yourself, sought out help, and perservered.
I guess you can call me the Unfeminist. So there ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

This is one of those days where this is so much I want to say, but I honestly just don't even have the energy! I was hoping to nap a little while Elly did, but she didn't hardly nap so that was a no go. I'm going to try to hit the hay by 8 tonight since I need to up at 5am tomorrow. I'm more tired just thinking about it! But it's for a good reason; singing in the morning services at Newlife tomorrow. We're doing some great songs and I'm looking forward to it :)

My garden is really loving the random hours of heat we've been having. My green beans, zucchini, and peas are growing like crazy. And yesterday I noticed my peas have flowers on them, yay!

I picked up seed packets yesterday for sweet corn and sweet peppers. Was hoping for carrots but I guess the manufacturer already picked them up.........they must not know that seasons often start late for us here in Washington :) I'll have to find them somewhere else.

I took the kiddos to the Poulsbo Marine Science Center on Thursday and it was awesome. Totally free (donations accepted) and it was a cool experience. There is a touching pool and the kids get to feed and touch crabs, anenome, seastars (politically correct term for starfish), and learn about all the cool creatures. Very neat. The coolest thing for me was the huge octopus. Apparently the largest species of octopus grows in the Pacific Northwest; the "Pacific Giant Octopus." He was aptly named Mr. Bob by the local kids and he was bigger than I can even explain. We got to see him eat a crab, very cool. I highly recommend stopping in just to see Mr. Bob. He'll be released in the wild soon and then a younger male will take his place (they only live 3-5 years).

You can see Mr. Bob eating the crab in the 2nd pic. Weeeeird :)

Of course the drama still continues with Craig's crazy ex, but I'm too tired to waste brain space with all her crap at the moment..........ok, got stuff to do.....enjoy your weekend and Happy Father's Day to all the men who make an effort to be there for their kids and are the true meaning of the title, "DAD". ;)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Watching my garden grow

Went to the Poulsbo Farmer's Market again today in the most beautiful sun! I'm so glad we got out of the house. I got green beans, market cucumbers, and chives to add to my garden :) We also tried the Icelandic Icecream and it was the bomb. It's a Skyr (pronounced Skeer) which is made similar to a cheese or like Greek yogurt, so it was super creamy and pretty much just fabulous. We got lemon meringue flavor; delish. If you haven't been yet, I definitely recommend taking the fam to the farmer's market, or one in your area. There's something really special about seeing things grown or made right in your own county, and knowing that your dollars are going to local vendors. There's a ton of good food (bratwurst, burgers, swedish pancakes, mini donuts, coffee, cupcakes, salmon, mexican, etc) and the garden vendors are so friendly and have given me a lot of good advice. It's really a community feel and especially in Poulsbo where everyone knows everyone. I'm sure we'll go lots more this summer and I'll probaby take Craig's son and Eliana there next weekend while Craig is working (boo to that!). I also want to check out the Bremerton Farmer's Market at Evergreen Park.

So, this pic is my garden as of today. I'm already wishing I had more space! From front to back I now have:
Oriental Eggplant (long and skinny)
Artichoke (back left)
Market Cucumber (in front of artichokes)
2 sweet peas on the trellis
4 green bean plants in front of the peas

YAY! I would really love to plant pumpkins, but I'm pretty much out of room for big, spreading type things like that. Maybe next year :) I can see how gardening becomes addictive and it takes up your whole yard. But this does feel very productive to me because everything I've planted we will actually eat.
And it's fun and seems very 'domestic' to have a veggie garden and watch things grow while I am also watching my belly and toddler grow. Awww, how sweet ;)