Open House

After a very busy but only moderately productive day we remembered that the kids school was having an open house. It was our first real visit with their teachers and we get to snoop through their school work and see if they are learning anything. Definately not something the kids will let us miss. They are in two different classrooms because the kindergarten class was too big to fit with the rest of the 1st 2nd and 3rd graders ,there are 8 kids in his grade. They made part of the library into a K classroom and the teacher has done a great job making it a fun learning space. I thoroughly enjoyed having my kids drag me along showing me everything in their classroom . I'm so glad that they both enjoy school.

Its always informative to talk with the teachers..and often funny. Aili's teacher repeated the things her past teacher always told us...its good to have someone else see the same traits in her. Apparently she is the "friendliest kid in the
school" and is everyones best friend. She is always concerned about the feelings and well being of others. The down side of that is she is very sensitive and comes apart when that friendship isn't recipricated or when her little friends are fickle or inconsiderate....as kids too often are. She has had some teary days recently. She is so loyal that she just doesn't understand the 'friends one day- ememies the next' scenarios at school. I told her it makes me sad that she sometimes gets left out or picked on but it would make me even more sad to find out she was a "mean girl" the one doing the bullying. Acedemically she is loving school. She is such a school work junkie that she actually gets excited when she has homework.

Romans teacher is the one I was anxious to talk to. I've been hoping that he would have a teacher that understood him and appreciated his unique and challenging personality. I don't think he could have a better teacher. She is an older experience lady that just epitomizes what a kindergarten teacher should be, full of enthusiasm and a love of what she does.

It was obvious as we looked through his "school work" that his fine motor skills and attention span still need some work. Nathanael exclaimed (when Roman was out playing in the gym) that his was the worst writing of all the kids. His teacher was SO posative and insisted that if you look closely his letters were improving slightly from A-D. I wish I could say I saw it. I did notice that his A's transformed into nice little bows and arrows part way through the page...because obviously thats more interesting than drawing A's. His name is almost recognizable...well I recognized an O in there and what appeared to be an R. The upside is his teacher is in love with his charming personality.

She said that his "emotional quotient" (whatever that is) is really very high. His imagination and inquisitiveness is over the top. He definately doesn't lack enthusiasm and he is also the first one to offer an act of kindness or generousity to her or other students. He is always offering to share his lunch with his teacher and one day in the middle of class he stood up and annouced "excuse me, I would just like to thank you for teaching us all this stuff. I really appreciate it."...and then sat down. I just giggled because that is SO Roman. So over the top and so sincere about it. He is highly affectionate as well and his teacher laughed as she told me stories about his many hugs and borderline appropriate displays of affection he has bestowed on her. Thats my boy. She told us that "he does have some trouble sitting still" SHOCKER! Now this is how amazing she is. She let him fiddle with a hacky sack to make sitting still less painful for him and to help him pay attention...that was until it started getting launched in the air. She told me that she has heard of kids being able to sit on small exercise balls in class and was thinking of trying that. I picture him bouncing upsidedown on it and told her good luck with that.

All I can say is God Bless her for trying! She earns every penny she makes with Roman in the class. He might be ridiculously high in energy and impulsive but he is respectful and kind....and that is more important to me than having the best penmanship in the class.

An unrelated Roman story: Lately he has been raiding my recycling bins to build his "fleet of robots" . He's not going to be an evil villain though...in case you were wondering...he just wants to be king of the world and he will need a robot army to accomplish that. Look out world.

I picked two random photos of my kids but they show Roman and Aili's personalities pretty well. Aili the little mother and Roman the fearless adventurer.
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picture retry

I don't know why but my photos seem to have disapeared from the below post...maybe its just my computer or dialup internet that isn't working properly. But here they are again if they didn't work the first time.

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Academy of the Potty

Welcome to Academy of the Potty, where students learn about and experience first hand their own body functions. Students will develop an appreciation for dry underwear , preferably with something cool like Spiderman or Bob the builder on the toosh. This is an intensive learning workshop that will take anywhere from a week to a year based on proficiency and over all willingness to cooperate with staff. Wearing of diapers is discouraged but will be allowed under circumstances where an accident would prove highly embarassing or inconvenient. At Academy of the Potty we strive for excellence and reward students achievements with candy.

Here is our newest student looking surprised and embarrassed at being caught in his briefs. But that little toosh is so cute. This student has begun his training workshop at the impressionable age of 22 months. Our average age of completion is about 25 months so he is right on track to keep up with former alumni.
Here he is again catching up on some studying with Field and Stream Magazine. We provide a well stocked library for our students.

Sweet success! We will be expecting our prized student to graduate from Potty Academy anytime with in the next several days, weeks or months.


My inner Junior Higher

It happens in so many ways , sometimes by choice and sometimes it happens without our approval leaving us struggling to re balance ourselves. Sometimes it is being forced to look for a new job, sometimes its an unplanned new family member, sometimes its relocating to a new town. Its adjusting to new seasons of life. I feel in some subtle ways we (my hubby and I)are in a new season of life. Even though for a while now I feel like I have gotten used to the change or am over it , grieving what was lost or left behind still comes back to haunt me a little.

My change has come in the form of changing social relationships. Families we were once close friends to...are not families anymore...and have become estranged acquaintances. A close circle of young couples that used to meet once a week to study the Bible and share our lives no longer meet and have for the most part gone their separate ways. I don't know if its the intimacy shared that I miss or the security of being surrounded by people that I miss. I am still friends with these couples but it has changed to more of a casual almost acquantanceship, where we pass brief greetings and pleasantries on our way to chase our own lives.

For some reason I find that this week I am struggling to accept this subtle yet obvious change. I realize that people move on, our family priorities change, and people grow apart...and that sometimes God brings people into your life for a certain season for a specific reason and I am thankful for that.

I think maybe He is thrusting me out and forcing me to stand on my own two feet a bit more , preparing me for the future and making me face my own ugly insecurities.

There I said it. My biggest fear in this struggle is the fear that my insecurity is starting to surface. I hate that! You have heard about people being in touch with their "inner child" well I try to stay out of touch with my inner "junior higher"...who by the way is a dorky girl with glasses and braces trying her hardest to fit in. I intensely dislike everything that girl represents and frankly resent the fact that she makes an appearance every once in a while. I try to keep my inner junior higher under cover, under the radar and out of my life...but she is there just the same. And I am finding out she may always be.

For most of my adult life I have been surrounded by, whether in Washington or here in Canada, a group of close friends. Friends who don't care if your house is messy, friends you go camping with and hang out with and I have treasured that. But I am realizing more that in life there will be those friends who you can call anytime, share any burden and go through all the seasons of life with , no insecurity involved....and then there are those who come for a time, are fun to be around and then we kind of drift apart..and thats ok too.

The hard part is figuring out who is who, and the dissapointment that comes when you view people as the first catagory and they turn out to be the second for various reasons. Thats when that ugly junior higher starts to sneak in....she wants to morph into whoever she thinks is cooler at the time and desperately thinks of ways to keep her status as an insider. Man ,I hated junior high. I am doing my best to deny those age old insecurities and stay myself...even if that means wearing my heart on my sleeve and a tendency to talk to much. I do strive to improve , mature and grow...but it can't be with the purpose of impressing other people. Take it or leave it because I am learning to stand on my own two feet while at the same time cherishing and investing into friends who love me for who I am....dirty windows and all. Thankfully my husband is one of those people :)

Well there is my laundry once again hung out for all to see. Why am I blogging all this stuff? Good question , I ask myself that all the time. First of all I hate journaling with a pen and paper....but I love writing. Its a creative outlet for me and helps me sort out my thougts....and I guess that for me is best done outloud (maybe I'm a bit of an exibitionist after all).

I also think that ,although we may feel like it sometimes, we are not alone in our struggles, in our humanity and in our insecurities. My guess is that some other people that read this will be keenly aware of their own inner junior higher.....and will be surprised that someone else has one too. I think knowing that someone else has thrown and shattered a dish in a point of weakness and frustration....might just make us all feel a little more "normal". It wasn't a good dish...just an everyday Corel .....hypothetically speaking of course.

Another reason I am blogging is that I am a pathetic recorder of my childrens special moments, adorable sayings and milestones....and while I'm confessing....gulp....I don't scrap book. I've tried but I'm really not that good with a pair of scissors. So this will be kind of an ongoing record of those precious moments that are flying by all too quickly.

You have reached the end of yet another ramble by Carla, congratulations on your perseverance! Stay tuned ,in another year when we are living at a Mexican orphanage I might actually have something interesting to write about :) Until then you'll have to put up with my ridiculous rambles about nothing inparticular.


Life with Silas

I know this little guy gets way too much blog time but can you blame me? Just look at him. He loves his new kittie and our Border Collie that we are dogsitting for the winter. He loves animals, no fear of them at all...the vacuum is a different story though.

Each of my kids have spent time baking with mom, its kind of a right of passage in my house. They spend much of their preschool days counting out cups of flour and stirring batter. Its a little messier with a one year old but he loves it. Actually of all my kids he is the only one who actually doesn't like messes or to be messy. He makes it a real issue if he has something on his fingers, playdough, marker, boogers whatever. He is very insistant that I wash it off. He walks around pointing out "mess" in our house. I have my fingers crossed for a neat freak. so far I'm surrounded by slobs. He is such a polar opposite of his brother...although they both like to make lego guns.

Being a toddler he is little mr independant right now. If its not his idea he's not interested. Our interaction goes something like this. "Silas do you want a cookie?"
He emphatically replies "NO!"
"Ok then I'll just set it on the table".....he glares at it and maybe even dramatically pushes it away...and then as if he just discovered a cookie decides he'd like to eat it.
His talking right now is SO cute. He is like a little parrot copying everything we say in an almost intelligable way. He is starting to put words together into simple sentences like " mom help please get food" of course it sounds more like "mom how pee dit foo" but fortunately I'm fluent in toddler.

He has to have a stick and be walking by himself , he rarely will hold my hand (we live in a rural area so its safe) and insists "my hand" .
I was up with him way too much last night...thanks to new eye teeth trying to pop through. We actually watched a bit of Dora at 3am...good times. That's enough to make you want to pop that big head of hers . He usually sleeps better than this and we have never watched tv in the middle of the night before...well not since our long nights of screaming colic watching the 'late late show'. He makes it known though if he's got a sore mouth, itchy eczema or an ear ache in the night , and crappy sleep is my first clue that somethings bugging him. After he finally settled back into sleep I laid awake fretting and worrying about the reality of leaving him for a week this winter.
We are taking a group of 17 people down to work at an orphanage in Mexico (the same place we lived for 6 months 3 yrs ago) . We will only be there a week this time and we are not taking the kids. I have tried not to think about it too much and am hoping that I will be able to farm them out to various unsuspecting friends and family. I'm not so worried about the older ones, they will love a week away at someone elses house, and they sleep all night every night. Silas on the other hand is much harder to leave. He has no idea if I will ever come back for him and after last night I don't know that anyone would want him. I'm starting to have major mothers guilt , and I know its only going to get worse the closer we get to the big drop off.

Part of me wishes we could take the kids , but I know I would be so busy just being a mom that I wouldn't be able to appreciate the experience and really be involved in the work there. I'm sure all the Mexican staff asking where Roman and Aili are.
We are planning on going back to Baja next winter , this time with our whole crew. A year from now we will be packing up our camping trailer heading south for another family adventure. It will be wierd to pull the kids out of school and home school them for the winter ...actually it will be more like trailer schooling, or outside on a picnic table schooling , or sitting under a palm tree schooling. Actually that doesn't sound so bad.

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Why is it so hard to just take a stand?

This blog is a journal of sorts, random thoughts and updates about my life which as you may have noticed focuses a lot on my family and my role as a mother. You may also have noticed that my faith is not just a piece of my life neatly tucked away in a box to open on Sunday and then put on the shelf again as I resume life as usual. Rather my faith and relationship to my Creator, Savior and Lord is the thread that the tapestry of my life is made of. It can no more be separated from any area of my life than the thread can be pulled from the artistry of that tapestry. Therefore as I write this "journal" it will be a mix of all kinds of things that are on my heart and the events of my life...the joyful, the ugly, the silly , the mundane....everything that makes this Mosaic of my life .

With that said, there is something that I can not get off my mind. Maybe its all the recent politics and debates that have me thinking. I follow politics but I try not to become so emotionally involved in them that I cannot keep a bigger perspective on life and Gods ultimate sovereignty. I find though that God repeatedly brings me to my knees, literally, and allows me a glimpse of his heart for humanity and this world...I can't really explain it with words. This is not by any means said in arrogance or in claiming that I know the mind of God. Not even close. Who can know the mind of God and mystery of everything he is? As we become closer to him , in an actual relationship and we allow the spirit of God to fill every part of our lives, we start to see things through his eyes of His mercy, compassion, grace, love and holiness. Its not an easy way to go around looking at the world...trust me ..it would be SO much easier to live a self focused, my comfort and happiness is my ultimate priority, kind of life...oblivious to pain and suffering around me. To have your heart torn open on a regular basis and to have the veil of self preservation pulled back is an uncomfortable place to be, because it demands action. So often though I fall short before the actual action takes place. I like to think, ponder, read about...but am usually afraid to actually rock the boat or step out and put my own heart on the line. Its safer to play armchair referee and complain about all the crap in the world. When I said in my first blog that I am a closet activist, I wasn't joking...its a confession. I can joke about it , but in actuality I should be ashamed of it.

Throughout the written history of Gods relationship with humanity he is actively concerned about how we care for each other and treat each other. This is particularly evident through the books of the prophets (people God used to carry his message). His heart for the poor, the voiceless and the oppressed are expressed over and over again. The book of Amos (a Shepard sent to Israel with an unpleasant message from God) he writes

" They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals.
They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed...."

" Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, "Bring us some drinks"! The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks...." (he is not referring to actual cows here but to the fat , lazy, rich woman concerned only with themselves)

Over and over God appeals for the proud, rich and self righteous people of this nation to turn back to him ...but in their own pride they" do what is right in their own eyes" instead, living for the pleasure of the moment. God uses invading armies and poverty to remind them where their security lies..not in their perceived wealth or their own strength...but in the Rock of their salvation, God himself.

God's heart for the helpless, the voiceless, the oppressed ,the enslaved and the poor is a theme that runs throughout the Bible... secondary of course to his romancing a lost humanity to himself and his gift of redemption. How can we as a society and especially those of us who call ourselves Christians , not represent his heart while we go about wearing his name and seeking his blessing. God is a "Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows". Christ discusses on many occasions defending the orphans and widows, he's not only telling us to help exclusively the orphans and widows but those that are without a voice or anyway to rise above their situation with out help. In that age and culture a child or a woman without a husband was without money, means or defense and was easily exploited and trampled on. Translated into our culture I see our responsibility being to care for those who are suffering, those living in poverty not of their own choosing, the millions of orphans around the world, the single mom struggling to raise her kids alone, the immigrant, the child slaves, the children sold as "shrine prostitutes" or child soldiers, the voiceless and helpless millions of babies being murdered in the name of convenience ...the list is overwhelming at times.

I hate how we've divided so many of these Social Justice issues and made them political. Any of these things that break Gods heart should break ours also....and in doing so should call us to act on their behalf...even when unpopular to do so. Some of these issues are trendy right now, not that there are a lot of people actually sacrificially giving of themselves, but there are a lot of people who like to talk about them. On the other hand some of these issues are very taboo "extreme" and "scary" to those who have politicized them.

In my opinion you can't fight to protect the rights of only some of the voiceless, some of the oppressed or only those humans deserving of human rights. It makes no sense to me....how have we become so calloused? Unfortunately common sense is to often lost in political correctness , fear tactics and rhetoric. Protecting those who cannot protect themselves in not a "right wing" "left wing" issue , its a issue of humanity and compassion.

How easily our society can take a grave and abhorrent wrong and , because of popular opinion...or because of the opinion of a few that yell the loudest.... it is made into a "right" or even called a "choice". It has happened throughout history. I think the biggest civil rights tragedy of our 'modern' world is the "right to choose" to end a unique, individual human life. Tragic and horrific beyond words. I think some day humans in the future will look a back at our culture and shake their heads in disgust....similar to the way we look back in horror and disgust at the tragedy of slavery, the holocaust, child sacrifice or the gladiator games. Which by the way were all considered "right" and legal at different points in history.

We need to have a standard to follow a compass to guide us ....our own depraved minds and hearts will always lead us toward destruction of those easiest to destroy, whether its tormenting the geeky kid in our class, taking advantage of the children working in sweat shops by buying those products, using more than our share of the worlds food and resources in North America , or ending the life of a human who is looked at as an inconvenience. We are either on the side of defending and bringing change...or we are on the side of "to each his own....do what is right in your own eyes....we can't legislate morality". That last part gets me a little riled up.

What if all the people who fought to bring an end to the horrific slave trade just shrugged their shoulders, and in fear of rocking the boat just said

" I don't necessarily agree with slavery, I think its wrong myself but I don't believe in preventing those who want to buy slaves from doing so....its between them and God....its a matter of freedom of choice...I'm not pro-slavery, I'm pro-choice." Can we get anymore wishywashy?

We legislate "morality" all the time, last time I checked its illegal to rape and murder someone, its illegal to steal someones car, its illegal to drive too fast or intoxicated because it might hurt someone. We have become so blinded by those who would have us turn and look the other way while atrocities are being committed under our noses. We have our ears filled with those screaming lobbyists protecting "roe vs. wade"and those poor "rape and incest victims"...and of course what about a mothers "health". We have closed our eyes to the facts of the grim reality of what we are allowing...and the blood that will be on our hands by allowing it. By the way, the total number of abortions that happen because of rape, incest or a mothers "health" are far less than one percent combined. Why does the exception dictate the rule? Well over 99 percent of abortions happen in the name of convenience and as an afterthought birth control....why can we not protect those millions being murdered with no reason other than inconvenience ?(and dare I suggest even the lives of those who had no choice in the manner of their conception or paternity...ooohh..thats walking on glass even suggesting such a thing) We stop thinking critically about the facts and let the tide of rhetoric pull us along. What if, instead of acting like lemmings following the lies, the half truths, the political rhetoric and fear tactics ....lets start asking some intelligent questions like .
"How can it be my right to take another persons life?"

"If the mothers life is actually at stake in the last trimester of pregnancy why does this need to result in a late term abortion?" Why can't an effort be made to safely deliver the baby ,even prematurely, and save both lives?...

Why is my tax money going to pay for another womens after- thought birth control? ...the gov't doesn't pay for any other elective surgeries.

Why when a baby is gestationally old enough to be viable is it ripped from the womb and murdered in the birth canal instead of just being delivered and given to a waiting family?

Why is a baby who survives an abortion left to die...isn't that infanticide?

hmmm...I think there are people who don't want us asking these questions and will silence us with their screams of worn out cliches and lies.

Why are woman exploited and encouraged to have abortions when they are at their most vulnerable and desperate...why aren't they loved, encouraged and given real options?

Why when a mother is given the devastating news that her child will not be the child she had dreamed he would be...rather he has down syndrome, or some other survivable condition deemed imperfect by societies standards....is she strongly encouraged to abort and given all the worst case scenarios of life with this special child. Why is she not encouraged to connect with other families and prepare for his arrival armed with knowledge and joyful expectation? I just don't get it.

I am not speaking from ignorance on this topic or naive idealism, I have faced and experienced changed plans, dashed dreams and choices I never thought I would be faced with. I have cared for a special needs foster child and realize the challenges. Life is messy, life is hard, life is full of the unexpected.... but that doesn't absolve me of my responsibilities as a human and as a Christian...and it certainly doesn't give me permission to take another life or stand by and allow others to do so.

I am in no way judging the victims of abortion.... woman are true victims of these lies that we are fed and have been exploited in the name of "womans rights", bearing the physical and emotional scars for a lifetime.

On the contrary lets start asking questions, looking at facts and get off that fence we are so comfortable straddling. Lets stop villanizing politicians ( who seem to be professional fence sitters) , whining and blaming and start effecting changes in our own hearts and attitudes. Lets uphold the rights of and demand justice for the oppressed, the marginalized, the suffering and the voiceless in our world.

What about opening our own wallets , using our own voices or going with our own feet instead of being armchair referees? It starts with us reassessing our priorities and looking beyond ourselves.

" He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it"
Martin Luther King jr.

" Never forget everything Hitler did in Germany was legal" Martin Luther King jr.


Goodbyes and watching for winter

We had Mom and Dad over for dinner the night before they left for Haiti. Here they are spending some time with the kids. I can't believe how tall Aili looks in this picture. She is sure growing up. I have this forboding awareness that the years are short and we will be in the grips of adolensence before we know it. What happened to my pigtailed chubby legged cherub? She has become a gangly girl who sits on the couch trying to read chapter books! There is such a difference between the little girl she was even in Kindergarten and the grown up girl she is now in second grade. She is still my quirky, caring, "mothering" Aili though.

We drove Mom and Dad to the Airport Monday. It was nice to meet Auntie Gerrie and my Grandma there too for a quick coffee and visit before the big send off. I am so proud of my parents and their heart to help those in need. They are in for an amazing adventure! We will miss them though, especially the kids. They are such 'hands on' amazing Grandparents.

I had to include my lovely fall flowers. My sweet husband brought them home from town and surprised me with them. It is definately a rarity that deserves celebration on my blog post! It really is fine with me that my hubby doesn't bring me flowers very often because I am far to cheap and practical to have our money spent on frivilous things like flowers :) besides it makes it more special and unexpected when it does happen!

The weather is changing again and our final encore to summer seems to be over. It definately looks and feels like winter is around the corner. By the way did I mention I am NOT looking forward to the cold, the snow, the ice and my entry way being filled with snowpants, soggy mitts, boots, and hats. Toddlers and snow just don't go well together. Silas loves being outside but once he is so bundled up that he can barely move and he resembles the little brother on a Christmas Story some of the freedom is gone. Then comes loosing his mitts while he tries to climb out of the snow drift he is trapped in, a screaming toddler, frozen hands and a mom wondering why she bothers going outside at all. Good fun. Ok I'm feeling a little grumbly.

We have two new pets this week also. We adopted Mom and Dads border collie for the winter and Roman found a little kitten hiding in some bushes at the back of our yard. Not totally uncommon around here. My kids who have been begging for a pet are now thrilled. That is until the dog has to go home and the kitten gets eaten by a Coyote. Ok, still grumbly. I think I'd better go put my grumpy butt to bed. Maybe I should stop and look at my flowers on the way and remember how lucky I am....even if winter is on its way.
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pondering pain

This morning I took Silas in for his 18 month vacinations...he's actually 20 months now. Good news he is back on the weight chart and holding strong at 25th percentile! He's gained 5 lbs since April. My baby is now a little boy running around and starting to talk.

If you have ever taken a child to get his shots you know how traumatic it can be. Silas has a total phobia of all things related to drs. and any place that looks like a clinic. Chronic ear infections, ear tubes, allergy testing, trips to the pediatrition and an ear specialist ...add to that a public health nurse yeilding needles every few months and the kid has every right to be afraid.

He was nervous, clinging and whining just walking into the clinic and screamed in terror while being weighed and measured .... we both knew it would get much worse before it got better. They give kids 3 shots now...one in each arm and in a leg. It is just cruel....necessary...but cruel all the same.

As I sat there fighting tears, cradling my hysterically screaming child while he was turned into a human pin cushion , something crossed my mind. ....that is, after the very brief instinct to slap the lady, grab my child and run. How does God feel when we go through times of pain and trouble and where is he while we endure it? A biggy I know, one of those questions whole books are written on....by people much more educated in theology that I . I will try not to write a whole book as I try to sort through these thoughts banging around in my head.

I will start with what I know. God reveals himself in the Bible as "Abba" the Hebrew word for Daddy...not just father but the word that a young child would shout as she runs to her "Abba" with her arms in the air. I know that God loves us, more than that he IS love, perfect love and I know I can trust perfect love.

As Silas' mommy I am merely human , I make mistakes, I sport bad attitudes and frequently lack patience. Even in my humaness my heart is torn open and the tears start to flow at the mere thought of my child suffering, having to watch it is close to unbearable. How much more does God care for us? ....being that his love is pure, perfect and untainted. Is God there with us while we endure heartache and trouble? Again I think about how a loving parent comforts a child.

As I held Silas and tried to comfort him through needle after needle, I reassured him that I was there with him and would remain with him.

I reassured him that it would soon be over and that something better (a whole "fruit by the foot" and a bottle) was waiting for him.

I acknowledged his hurt . I felt each needle prick and the subsiquent sting and burn of the medicine being forced into his muscle as if it were my own. If there was some way to take it for him I would have.

One thing he will never understand at 20 months old is that this specific pain had a purpose. I think the most hearbreaking thing was the look in his big blue eyes . They pled me to help him and at the same time accused me of inaction. If he had a bigger perspective and could know what I know he would understand that I wasn't intentionally subjecting him to this pain for my own cruel amusement or my own powerlessness to stop it.

Wars rage, atrocities are committed, mothers watch their babies succumb to starvation, people are swept out to sea in horrific natural disasters, people battle disease and pain all around me. How often do we look at God with those same pleading and accusing eyes and wonder if He is cruel or just powerless? I know I have.

As a parent ,this morning, I was neither cruel nor powerless. I know seeing him suffer even for only a brief time broke my heart. I could have followed my first instinct to grab him and run but that was not my plan for him, that was not what was best for him. I know Silas cannot possibly understand right now why I allowed it to happen. He has to trust me.

I'm not suggesting that all pain has a specific purpose....like immunizations. But we can't rule out that sometimes it does. Likewise, some pain is a natural consequence of our own poor choices...."You jump out of that tree Roman and you will break your leg!". I tend to think that most of it is just the natural fallen sinful world we live in. I do know that God can take that pain and bring something good out of it...even though its difficult to see at the time.

This was just run of the mill shots, nothing major, although if you ask Silas he may have a different opinion. I am not one of those moms who faint at the sight of blood or run to the hospital for every bump and bruise. My intention is not to over dramatize the fact that he got 3 shots but rather use it to paint a bigger picture. I'm more of a "your ok..get up and keep going" kind of mom but I am no novice at comforting my children through pain and discomfort. My three children have had 6 surgeries, nothing life threatening fortunately, but I have still listened to my "babies" scream in the recovery room while I rush to reassure them that mommy is still here. I have held a dying baby knowing all I could do for him was reassure him that his mommy and Daddy loved him.

So many people I know have faced or are facing things that are so painful that I cannot even imagine the specifics of what they go through. I can't comprehend the suffering of watching a child battle cancer or the loneliness of loosing a spouse. I have never experienced loosing a parent when they should be dreaming about retirement or enjoying their young grandchildren. I do know grief though and the gut wrenching aching sadness that goes with it. I have felt the sting of death and have no doubts that it was concieved in the pit of hell. The reason it feels so unnatural for us is that we were not created for this. Mothers were not created to watch their children die, we would literally face a rabid pitbull or storm the gates of hell to prevent them from suffering. There is nothing more unnatural than leaving your child's tiny body in a hospital room while you turn and walk away.
(brief pause to get a kleenex...I'm back now)

If the world was still the way it was created to be I wouldn't have needed to take Silas to get immunized. Because he is subject to the diseases this world has to offer, I will allow it, as unatural as it is.

I know without a doubt that God is closest to us when it is the hardest to see or stand, when we are groping through that dark valley. He does not abandon us in that place.

God doesn't keep us immune from trouble. We are subject to and victims of the laws of nature, the evil intent of other people, and the fallen state of this world...just like everyone is. One difference is , we do not need to fear. Our Abba sits on the throne and is stronger than the intentions of evil people and more powerful than the laws of nature.

We may not be immune to heartache but He does promise us that we will be held in the midst of it.

He tells us " In this world you will have tribulation...but take heart I have overcome the world." I remember a time when I had reached such a state of dispair that I felt no hope of immediate relief from pain. The only thing that brought comfort was that someday this world would be set right, justice will be served, tears dried and even nature will be redeemed to its origional glory. Even so, I have been blessed to " see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" ....I did not have to wait until eternity to enjoy some smooth sailing after such a dark storm.

Some of you know who the apostle Paul is (by the way if you read about him in the book of Acts you'll come across the guy I named my son Silas after, a man who knelt and worshiped God even though the skin was hanging off his back in shreds and he was chained in a stinking filthy prison cell) Paul was a hateful self righteous prig of a man determined to earn his way to Heaven...that was until he met Christ and realized his need for grace. He was literally brought to his knees in an encouter with the living God and he was rocked and changed to his core. For the sake of Christ and sharing this message of hope and redemption, he was then beaten, stoned and flogged, suffered hunger and cold, he was imprisoned and shipwrecked...even bitten by a viper....if anyone new about pain it was Paul. Here is what Paul has to say on the subject. Italic

"..We know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him (ok that ones hard to swallow when your in the middle of it) who have been called according to his purpose. ......What , then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us , who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that , who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? .....No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (note: it says "in" all these things...not without, or inspite of)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. " Romans 8:28-39

Shall tribulation? - let the tribulation bring what it will... exhausting, bitter, stressful....it will not separate you from Gods love...the key is not to let it prevent you from resting in that love.

Shall anguish? - can we trust in Gods love and rest in it when our circumstances tell us his love is a lie, and life is unfair? Can we experience true joy despite our circumstances?

Shall Sword? - As I write this, there are Men, Woman and children literally facing a sword and yet still refuse to deny what they know to be true. Christians are being masacred and brutalized right now in India....and in the midst of it they are praising God because they know this persecution will bring incredible growth in their community of believers. Now thats faith refined in fire. What Satan intends for harm God will use for good.

"Either Jesus Christ is a deciever and Paul is deluded, or something extrordinary happens when a person holds on to the love of God when the odds are against God's character. Logic is silenced in the face of everyone of these things. The only thing that can account for it - the love of God in Christ." Oswald Chambers

When Silas was being poked he did what was natural for him. He turned to me and clung to me. He clung to me with all the strength he had. I think he was actually trying to crawl inside me and hide...if only I had a few more rolls I think he would have. He was confused, hurt, angry and his eyes questioned "WHY?" but he clung, and within only minutes his tears were dried and he was sitting in contentment on my lap eating "sugar by the foot"...I mean "fruit by the foot". Sometimes I think we should just follow the lead of a toddler who can trust that , despite his immediate circumstances, He is loved.