Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On fasting

Jessica linked to a wonderful short video interview - Frederica Mathewes Green talking about fasting. My favorite part is this:
It doesn’t really matter that you don’t understand it. You don’t understand everything when you’re a kid. Spiritually we’re all kids. There’s so much we need to learn. But you can participate.


For the next forty days, if you need me, please don't email. This year during Lent I'm unplugging from the internet.

It sounds a little crazy, doesn't it? I think so, too. But I also think that God has been nudging me this direction for awhile.

See, what I've noticed is that the computer tends to take more than it gives. Even if I think I'm using it well, I look up and too much time has passed and my kids are whining for lack of attention. And what did I actually accomplish in the last 30 minutes? I'm usually not sure. Certainly not enough to justify the 30 minutes! I'm not saying that this is always true for everyone - but it is true for me.

The computer also promises things that it does not deliver. It promises to make communication quicker and easier, when it actually just multiplies pseudo-communication, making me spend more time for less true relationship. Seriously, who can keep up with email, blogs, facebook, and twitter? It isn't possible.

And for me, the computer holds out the seductive idea of rest. When I am tired, or simply tired of mothering, it is so easy to go sit down at the computer. I'll just check my email. And then read just one blog...well, two or three or five. Or glance through a couponing site. I'm so tired, and the computer feels like escape. And escape it may be, but it is not healthy escape. It doesn't give me true rest, not the way sitting down with a good book and a cup of coffee, or lying down for a 20 minute nap does! If I spend the kids' nap time on the computer, I'm upset when they get up because guess what? I'm still tired.

My primary vocation right now is to be a wife and a mom. I think that God (who has been nudging me this direction for some time now) is telling me to work, this Lent, on doing well that which I should be doing anyway. Being a mother, well. Being a wife, well.

So this Lent I am focusing on giving up those things which distract. We're simplifying our diet (oatmeal for breakfast and all meals simple vegetarian), and I'm unplugging from the information superhighway. In the "extra" time that will free up, I'll be doing some spiritual reading/study, staying on top of the chores, and working towards mothering with more grace.

Lord, please bless our simpler life this Lent. Give us strength and courage as we carry out our callings. And may we find our true rest in you.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A School for the Lord's Service

Gabe has written a thoughtful essay on the parallels between a Benedictine abbot and a father raising children. It is something he's been thinking about (and we've been talking about) for quite awhile, and the written result is well worth your time.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Do we need to revisit VBAC guidelines for women with three or more prior caesareans?

New research, soon to be published in BJOG, opens the question of VBACs for women who have had multiple cesareans. The study compared the morbidity rates of planned VBAC after three cesareans, against a planned repeat cesarean. The results? No real difference. There are morbidity risks associated with VBA3C, of course, but these are not greater than the morbidity risks associated with multiple cesareans. Read the full release here.

According to the lead author, Dr. Alison Cahill, from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine:
“These data suggest that women with three or more prior caesareans who attempt VBAC have similar rates of success and risk for maternal morbidity as those with one or two prior caesareans, and along with other publications, suggest that perhaps it is time to revisit the current recommendations for VBAC attempts for women with more than one prior caesarean”.
With the burgeoning number of women with multiple cesareans, some of whom will want to have more children, this kind of research is extremely important.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Imagination vs. literalism

Thomas: *hid in the closet and shut the door*

Gabe: "Hey, Jonathan, maybe Thomas is in Narnia!"

Jonathan: "Yeah, like the wardrobe! Thomas, you're in Narnia!"

Thomas: "No. I'm in the closet."

Monday, February 08, 2010

Cross your fingers!

We're trying to catch chicken pox.

Yes, really. Gabe and I chose not to give our children the varicella vaccine. We had concerns about how protected the kids would be when they were older - there are no long term studies for this vaccine, and the best information (that we could find) currently suggests that the vaccine is only good for about ten years. There is a booster shot, but again, we don't know the long term results. Best case, everyone would be fine. Worst case, the vaccine would wear off and the kids would be at risk for chicken pox and/or shingles when they're adults, when it is much more dangerous.

So when we heard that a friend of ours had actually managed to catch chicken pox (harder to do now that many kids get the vaccine) we picked him up for a play date. :)

He's nearing the end of the contagious period, so we're not sure that the kids will catch it. But they might. And we hope that they do. Because then they'll have a week of itchiness, followed by a lifetime of protection.

Wish us luck. :)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Lenten conversation

"Thomas, Lent is soon, and it is really fun because we have oatmeal every morning!!!"
- Jonathan, age 4.5

Hmm. Gabe and I started the oatmeal Lenten tradition because we aren't particularly fond of it (especially every morning!) For us, it is a good chance to practice self denial. Apparently our children do not view it in quite the same way!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Oh kiddo, I know how you feel.

This morning Jonathan woke Thomas up too early. We're trying to teach him not to do this, but sometimes the allure of someone to play with is too much to overcome. Usually Thomas survives this without too much trouble.

At breakfast, Thomas was almost finished with his eggs when he somehow spilled his bowl on the floor. I cleaned it all up, asked if he wanted more of something else (there were no more eggs) and found myself staring at a wailing child. He had completely fallen apart. I gave him a hug, and in a few moments he choked out "I'm. just. so. tired!"

Oh honey. I know.