“I Am Legion”

I attended a conservative Christian middle school in the loop of the Bible Belt. My life and worldview have changed greatly since the days I was taught that the earth was  created in six 24-hour days,  or believed that Christian and Republican were synonymous, or thought the “Left Behind” books just might be prophetic. But a couple things haven’t changed: my belief in Christ, nourished by loving parents, caring teachers and kind friends (many of whom I am still connected to via Facebook). And the Bible. The same stories just keeping turning up, like precious, insistent pennies. 

Recently, a friend taught the story of Jesus exorcising the man with many demons (check it out in Mark 5)  at an international Bible study that I belong to. Jesus lands on a literally godforsaken side of the lake and meets a strong, naked, demon-possessed lunatic who lives among the tombs. When Jesus asks the demon’s name, the man replies, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” (This is Ring-level creepy!) Jesus casts the demons into a herd of 2,000 pigs and they plunge off the cliff into the sea. Rather than being impressed by this miracle, the locals ask Jesus to leave, and he tells the man he healed to stay behind and spread his news. 

 I love this parable, partly because I remember doing a rap about it when I was in middle school. I had never heard rap (except of the Christian variety), but my two friends and I put on sunglasses, wore backwards baseball caps, and rapped our hearts out. The refrain, as I recall, was “I am Legion!”

I really, really wish I had a video. 

This time, I started thinking about it from the other people’s point of view. It helped me understand why they asked Jesus to leave. Somebody owned those pigs, and they were worth a lot of money. And then – poof! A total loss! 

“Who does this guy think he is, destroying all those pigs? If he can do that, what could he do to us? We thought the crazy guy was scary… this guy could destroy everything we hold dear!”

But somebody loved this man, loved him enough to try to take care of him – although he kept running off, although he behaved like a wild animal.

Just like I love my child, but more.

Jesus knew that this man’s life and sanity was worth far more than 2,000 pigs. Not that he doesn’t care about animals – He knows when a bird falls out of the nest (Matthew 10:29). Yet he allowed this to happen, because pigs and people are apples and oranges. 

How much is a human life worth today? 

Today this man might have a different label. “Schizophrenic.” “Multiple personalities.” “Subhuman.” The label may be different, but I think demons are still doing their dark work in our world today – on my mind is the recent Slenderman case

Today, people might still see this man’s life as not worth more than 2,000 pigs or the equivalent. But Jesus calls us to care, to support those with mental illness, or demons, those who are feared and ostracized. He cares for everyone. For embryos, for fetuses, for teenage moms, for 50 year old moms, for drug addicts and work addicts, for murderers on death row, for all of us sinners with our baggage. He grieves at the injustice that rules in our world. He came to break down barriers of ethnicity, gender, age, disability, socioeconomic status – everything that we use to dismiss or dehumanize others. He still works through us to break those down today.

How is he seeking to use you? 

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Ask Questions

My maternity leave from blogging is over. It’s a New Year and my resolution is to post monthly. Also, my resolution is- less journaling, more originality. After all, my other social media sites pretty much chronicle my life. This is the place for deep thinking…

Of course, pictures especially of cute children make all blogs more readable, so we’ll see.

So the first question- why a blog about questions? A coworker the other day was asking me many questions and then apologized about it. I remembered a teacher saying there  are no dumb questions. Yet I admit, sometimes I am annoyed by questions. 

But then I ask myself why I am annoyed and it’s usually because I don’t know the answer and am afraid of how I will appear.
So this is my manifesto on why you should ask  (and answer) questions.

– It reinforces what you know! And it helps remind you why you are doing this. Whether at work or home, it is important to review the whys. 

– Because it’s the right thing to do. Because we are all new and unsure once. Because it’s better to find out and i things right than pretend. 

– Because asking questions is a good time to reevaluate whether this is best practice. So many changes for the better have started with this exchange:

“Why do you do it this way?”

“Because we’ve always done it this way.”

“But why? Why not this other way?”

“Huh. That does work better…” 

So ask questions. Don’t be afraid of the answers. Don’t be afraid if you don’t know the answer. 

What questions have you been afraid to ask?

Is it time to ask them? 

The True Morals of  Common Baby Books

In the past I read a lot of great books… novels, nonfiction, memoirs, travelogues, you name it. I am so thankful for the Rochester Public Library.

But recently most of my reading takes place with Savannah. I know our board books quite well. A little too well, some would say…

1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?

Comments: I love this book but I have to wonder what medication they were taking when they saw a blue horse and a purple cat.

Moral: Animals see animals, teachers see children, and children can see everything.

2. The Mitten 

Comments: The coexistence of this many prey and predator animals seems unlikely… And white mittens are a bad idea for other reasons too.

Moral: Yarn stretches like you wouldn’t believe! And sharing is caring. 

3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Comments: This book reminds me of me when I’m breastfeeding. 

Moral: you’ll feel better if you don’t eat too much on Saturday and just eat that green leaf.

4. Good Night, Moon

Moral: Little bunnies will say goodnight to anything – even mush and nobody- to avoid going to bed.

4. Good Dog, Carl

Moral: It’s okay for your dog to babysit your kids… Although you may want to leave the nanny cam on.

5. Each Peach Pear Plum

Moral: Gun control is important, especially for baby bear (that kid is reckless!) And, pie brings everyone together, even people who were shooting arrows at other people pages before.

OK Savannah and I are going to go read my new favorite board book from the library, A Carnival of Cats. If you have other kids’ books of which you would like to know the true moral, mention them in the comments! 

Savannah’s First Christmas Season

Let’s be honest… Christmas is more of a season then one particular day! We started off this Christmas season with a visit to my parents, where we got to see Savannah’s uncle and aunts and great grandparents and great uncle and aunt. 

  
Then she came along to a couple Christmas parties. At my bowling party for my work, she got passed around while Chris and I bowled. Chris’s white elephant exchange resident Christmas party, she got glitter everywhere!

  
Daddy had to work on Christmas Eve, but we visited him and brought Chinese food to the hospital! On Christmas Day, we flew out for Virginia. Traveling with an infant is not as difficult as many would have you believe… as long as you don’t forget your stroller!

We got to spend time with Chris’s parents, grandparents, and high school buddies, as well as many other dear friends…

   
 

  
  
As you can see we had a magnificent time seeing all these lovely friends and family members. 

Of course we also had to catch up with our favorite restaurants, Chick-fil-A, Chili’s, Bojangles, Riptides… plus get our barbecue fix! We won’t wait so long until the next time we head back to Virginia! 

We made it back safe and sound. Thankfully some dear friends had shoveled the foot and a half of snow that had accumulated inour driveway! It was great to get back to real life and work rested, refreshed, and full of hope for 2016.

Thankful!

Thanksgiving was amazing. It was Savannah’s first Thanksgiving and our first time hosting. There is so much to be thankful for. God has blessed us so much this year.
I am thankful for my amazing husband and precious daughter.
I am thankful for my sweet parents and awesome sister, who came out to visit even though my sister had just had SURGERY, and were willing to watch Savannah even though I forgot to teach them how to use the car seat and stroller (NOT intuitive!)
I am thankful for my loving doggies.
I am thankful for a job I enjoy, a kind and caring boss, and sweet coworkers.
I am thankful for my husband’s mad cooking skills. He cooked a DELICIOUS turkey and fixins. And this on one of maybe 4 days off in a month.
I am thankful for the ladies in my Bible Study…
And our great Rochester family at our church.
I am thankful to live where we live… When we live… And have the freedom to make decisions (like where we should live!)
Most of all I am thankful for God’s grace. He sent his own son to be a vulnerable baby, to grow up and die for us. And even though He is far greater than our universe, He is with us through everything both good and bad – every baby giggle and every sleepless night, every joy and every sorrow. Praise be to Him!

More Decisions

It seems like just yesterday I was posting about making our decision about residency and preparing for the Match. And here we are with more decisions to make!

A lot has changed in 3 years – house, two dogs, jobs, BABY. Having Savannah in our lives is definitely the craziest change. It is amazing how quickly time flies when watching her, cuddling her, and taking care of her. I certainly do enjoy having her around. She is the best gift we have ever received.

Our next big decision is where to go for life (or at least for Chris’s first real job) and we will be making that decision in the next month. Craziness!!! We crave your prayers as we decide, not just for us, but for our KID. Part of it, of course, is what type of job Chris will be doing. Is it straight clinic or are there other things mixed in? Then there’s the benefits – the pay/vacation ratio. Then, of course, proximity to family and friends.

And there’s all those other things – what kind of job will I be able to get? What are the schools like in the area? And of course, how are the winters?

The great thing is that we do have choices and none of them are bad. And I am sure that God will make it clear in the next few weeks where he is calling us to go (or stay). Please keep us in your prayers as we listen for His voice!

 

Fun Things We Did in the Past 3 Months

After our Babymoon, which was A-MAZ-ING, we settled in to stay and home and be bored during the long slow grind of the third trimester. Yeah right.

  1. Memorial Day in Minocqua!

I drove up to visit my grandmother in northern Wisconsin and got my first taste of “lake cabin vacation.” We had a great time checking out the local shops, hiking on the nearby trail (lots of Braxton Hicks for me!) and making ourselves tasty food.

 

2. Visit with Becky

My mother-in-law came out for a visit so we could spend some time with her WITHOUT a baby. We had a great time – we took a nice trip through Minnesota and Wisconsin, and she and Chris tried some local brews and wines. We did get a flat tire but the local shop, Elmer’s in Fountain City WI,  took care of it in no time.

3. Black River Falls Again

We spent a long weekend in Black River Falls and had a fantastic time, as we always do. My mom and sister came up for a short time as my sister prepared to head back to French camp. We got to go boating, paddle-boarding, kayaking, horseback riding, rope-swinging… well, I didn’t do all those things, but I did what I could!

 

4. Fun Time with Mom

My wonderful mother sacrificed time and energy to come out the day before my due date, just in case Baby decided to be on time, which of course she didn’t. But we did get to spend a fun week together. My mom singlehandedly installed a new mailbox for us and weeded our jungle,I mean, back flower beds. We also had fun trying to get labor going, e.g. eating sushi, taking lots of walks, eating eggplant parmesan…

It may have been the ambitious walk with our church group at Quarry Hill that got things started as I went into labor the next day! I was picturing an easy stroll on the paved path, but we ended up doing some serious back-woods scrambling… what a blast!!!

 

5. Becoming Parents

Definitely the best thing I have done this summer – or ever!!! We welcomed our daughter Savannah on July 28th at 3:13 pm, and she has transformed our lives. Not to sound trite, but I never did know how much you can love someone who can’t really reciprocate (at this stage at least)…. or how natural the transition could be… or how much fun having a little person can be. I’m pretty sure most if not all of my future posts will revolve around her.