28 July 2012

For The Sake of Something Else


Today's Word of the Day is actually rather subtle, despite the huge connotations implied by the word. I should probably first make you aware that I am discussing the verb and not the noun; homage through death is just not my thing. So, what is sacrifice? To make an offering of; to surrender, give up, permit injury or disadvantage to for the sake of something else; to dispose of something of value (property, goods, etc.) regardless of profit. Sounds big and important.

We are "house sitting" at my parents' this week while they are in Eugene for a blues/folk festival and then in Lincoln City for a family reunion. They got to see Steve Martin, I'm eternally green with envy. The house doesn't really need sitting, but my youngest brother is still living at home and while he doesn't need anyone to watch him, he does need accountability. So it helps if we stay at the house. I love my brother and I am more than happy to be there for him, but I do not want to stay at my parents' house. It doesn't even have anything to do with the house or the responsibility, it is entirely because it's not my home anymore. I have a new home that I love and I want to be there. Vacation's are different. Living in someone else's house while you're going about your normal everyday life? I don't like it, not even a little bit.

"No great wisdom can be reached without sacrifice." CS Lewis

But sacrifice, even small and insignificant ones like living at your parents' house for a week, is important. Not just that you make them, but that you make them cheerfully. And making a cheerful sacrifice does not always mean you are going to like the sacrifice you are making, it simply means that you recognize it needs to be made and you let your heart be transformed by that knowledge. Let yourself be transformed. Sleeping in a bed that is not my own in a house that is not my own while in my last leg of pregnancy is not my idea of fun, but I am glad of this opportunity to give more of myself so that others (my parents and brother) might feel love and be appreciated. I think in order for a sacrifice to be genuine, part of you has to want to hold back but decide for the best of others to give anyway.

Real sacrifice is beautiful. It's not just reluctant house sitting for your parents, it's lovely and true. It breaks down barriers and builds up people. It is hope. It is love, unconditional and never ceasing. Joyfully surrendered for the greater good. It's not something that you can teach or force of someone, it must be done by your own free and wholehearted will. Sacrifice. It is a word with weight, so much weight. And it is so important.

"You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it." JM Barrie

I believe that sacrifice is necessary. I believe this because I have experienced the blessings from the ultimate sacrifice and I am undeserving. I believe this because I have witness the sacrifices of others for the benefit of those around them. I have seen great sacrifice and great suffering and I believe it is necessary. For through these acts of unconditional and unrequited goodness, we find joy and hope and love. We find all things beautiful and lovely. All things wonderful and fulfilling.

I believe in order to be a good wife, I must know and experience sacrifice. Expectantly. I must yield all I am and more, not losing myself in my husband, but giving all of myself. Without reservation. For reservation negates sacrifice. If true love is to be my calling, it must be sacrificial love. And I believe in order to be a good parent, I must know sacrifice. I must know great sacrifice. I must love my child(ren) until it hurts and be willing to give my everything for them. They are, after all, my heart wandering beyond my body.

"A man (Jesus) who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act." Mahatma Gandhi

Reading and writing, allowing God to speak truth into my life through His Word, my husband, my family, my friends, and all other things. I sometimes forget to listen for that still, small voice because I am waiting for a loud, commanding one. I hear the "sacrifice" and it resounds in my mind with a boisterous crash, but it shouldn't. It should be soft, it should be quiet. I am so sure that quiescent words are the most resilient, the most pure. The kind that echo not due to volume but due to their undeniable and heavy truth.

My word is sacrifice. But it isn't just the word of the day, it is the word of my life. It is what I must live out in order to truly live at all, because merely existing was never an option. I desire to love this world as I have first been loved. I desire to love sacrificially, to live sacrificially. I believe it is an impossibly wonderful task that I will spend the rest of my life working towards, and I am so glad of it. To live for the joy, for the sake of something else, what better life could there be?

I am a wife and a mother and I desire a life of beautiful sacrifice.

25 July 2012


Radio silence ends here?

I've been rather quiet, which I apologize for, but I actually can make no promises about being better about blogging - sorry. I have mere days left of pregnancy and am keeping myself fairly occupied with Pinterest. Just kidding, I actually have been up to quite a lot. Figuring out hospital plans, hanging our beautiful baby hammock for Critter, sewing a maya sling, getting together with what seems like the entire world before I give birth and spend the first couple weeks doing nothing but staring at my precious little one, figuring out easy freezer meals to make now while I have the time and energy, working/trying to get ready for maternity leave so someone else can do my job, and various other things.

It's strange, even though I know I am busy, I feel like all I do is day dream these days. Daydreams about finally getting to hold Critter, running, breast feeding, snuggling baby, touching my head to my shins or any yoga without modifications, baby baths, clothes that fit... a lot of my daydreams are fitness related, the rest are baby related. Being pregnant has taught me that you need to take ridiculously good care of your body. My bones ache from all the weight and the awkward gait and my breasts growing by the minute. I don't want the body I had before I was pregnant, I want a better one. I want to care for it as it has never been cared for, it deserves it.

That being said, I'm enjoying this last haul of pregnancy. Being told to keep off my feet when I feel tired makes me scrunch my face, but I don't mind nearly as much as everyone said I would. My inability to control my internal thermostat can definitely get uncomfortable, but it's nothing a cold shower can't fix - and I loveee cold showers. I'm glad there is so much sunshine and my ever moving child makes me laugh out loud sometimes. Being big and needing to pee constantly is, of course, challenging, but I wouldn't say that this is the worst Summer I've ever had. Everyone seemed to think being pregnant in high Summer was the world's end - I've got news, it isn't. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is my sweet sweet Critter, I don't mind waiting. Through the heat and the discomfort and the contractions and the keeping off my feet, I don't mind.

Mornings have been reading and scrawling page after page of nonsensical Malia words. Days of water bottles and work, trying to prep for the little one. Nights hold yoga, cuddles, movies, and more writing or reading. Mark is ever amazing and still believes I am beautiful, funny, and not ridiculously overemotional by any stretch of the imagination. Have I mentioned how much I adore him? No? Well, let me make it clear: I have the most wonderful husband.

We had a terrific appointment with a midwife this morning, she was a lovely blessing. Funny and honest, I don't think there is a better combination in humans. She reassured me about how well I am doing and let me know some good ideas for labor, it was just a really great appointment. Even Marko liked her. We are so excited to meet our little one! Just 18 days left, deep sigh of motherly joy.

The advice seems to flow from every mouth about pregnancy, labor, and newborns - here are my words of wisdom to you if you're pregnant: Don't listen. If you have a question about something and ask someone? That is the only time they have any right to give you any piece of advice. Do whatever feels best to you, momma! Trust your instincts and know when to ask for help. Simple as that. People will tell you stories and what works best, but that was them and their baby, not you and yours. Do your own thing, figure it out your way. Have no idea what to do and feel overwhelmed? Take all the ridiculous advice people give you! Just do what feels right to you, and I genuinely believe everything will work out.

I don't think I've mentioned that we heard back about missions! We are officially in the discernment process - which means we are going through background and reference checks and they can really get to know us (and we them) through interviews and the like so each of us can decide if this really is the way we would like to go on mission. Both Mark and I have had our phone interviews and are now filling out paperwork so we can hopefully start moving through this process in September. The timeline, if everything falls into place, looks to be June of next year. Longer than we wanted to wait? Definitely. But that is okay, we aren't functioning are on our timeline. Patience is more like the word of the year.

I recently stumbled upon the beautiful opportunity to read the truly touching story of a dear friend of mine, hers is a heart wrenching and lovely journey. I was moved by her honesty and the amount of love poured into the story. In a lot of places, it reminded me of my own story, which I have been convicted to share. I'm not sure in exactly what manner yet, but I've already started writing so we'll see the form my story reveals itself in. I often give the big picture, but intimate details are often still fleeting in my story. They deserve to be shared. I'm very cautious and tentative in doing this, but I'll keep you updated as to how it's moving.

I'll end with this:
I love you. Whether I know you or not is irrelevant. You are a beautiful soul full of wonder and possibility and I don't need to have met you to understand that. You were created for amazing things! Maybe you're already doing them, maybe they are yet to come, but never doubt your place in this world. Things might get hectic, frantic, dismal, despondent, or any number of other things - but know that you are loved. Even if just by me, who is ridiculous and struggling with my own crazy issues all the time! You are not alone, you are with so many of us in heart and spirit if nothing else. Know you are loved.

See how much I love you?!

In Controversial News

So on the topic of how badly I want to save the world, read these:
How this is going on entirely under the radar of most of the general public is beyond me. Why we only caught onto the revolutions last year once they hit Egypt is beyond me. This world is so much bigger than the petty scandals we spend so much time obsessing over. Sudan is in the middle of a student revolution and we are worried about the Kardashians and Tom Cruise's divorce. I do believe this is a WTF moment, ladies and gents, WTF. Educate yourselves.

Here on this side of the planet, I confess myself a little flustered. I realize I get uppity about money and hypocrisy quite often when I really should take a step back and breathe, I am sorry about that. You didn't get on my blog to read self righteous ramblings of sinner. I would like to point out that I am flawed and not even remotely close to pulling myself together except by the grace of God for mere seconds... milliseconds.

Now that I've apologized for getting uppity, I'd like to do so! Well, kind of. This is going to be a rather long train of thought. It starts with Chick-Fil-A (although it starts numerous places, that is just the place it starts today). Chick-Fil-A has recently become enemy number one, or at least in the top ten, to the homosexual population. Why? Because they support fundamental Christian marriage... I'm confused. Chick-Fil-A has been a fundamentalist Christian company for 66 years, why is it any surprise they support fundamental Christian marriage? They did not come out and say that they hate the gays or anything even close to that, just that they believe in marriage between a man and woman. The next complaint against the company is that over 2 million dollars of their charitable givings have gone to "anti-gay groups," but I have a problem with that as well. They didn't donate the money to the charities because they are "anti-gay," nor did they just start donating to these charities as the "gay issue" has come about, they donate to other fundamentalist Christian groups... again, why is this surprising?

Before you jump all over me about gay marriage and rights - I do not agree with Chick-Fil-A's stance on homosexual right to marriage. Firstly, marriage in the United States is of the government and not of the Church, so we really should have no say. It is a bunch of rights, tax breaks, and just a general commitment to another person that is recognized by our country's government - so whether or not you believe it is wrong or right as a Christian, it is equality under the government. Secondly, I struggle to accept that a loving monogamous homosexual relationship is a sin - but we can have that debate all day and all night, so I'm going to leave that one alone for now. My point is: Chick-Fil-A is entitled to their opinion. Hating them because of their opinions makes you the bigot, not them.

What this comes down to is equality. If you want the right to express your opinion about homosexuality, then you must grant others the same privilege. Period. Whether you agree or not is not the point. There are very few things in life that I believe are truly black and white: Freedom and Equality are two of them. You are either free or not free, equal or unequal, but you can't be partially free or partially equal. I have the same issue with modern day feminism - do I believe women are equal to men, absolutely. Do I believe women are better than men, no. That's not feminism, that's sexism. Going to see Magic Mike because you want to drool over shirtless men when the second a man goes to a film to drool over a woman it is objectifying her? Spare me. We attempt to make up for inequality by parading our new equality about - but that isn't the same as being equal: BET, Pride, Universities accepting lower scoring individuals because of their ethnicity... just a few examples of "equality" gone over the top.

Excited about being black? Good for you. Love being gay? Awesome. Rocking your culture as a minority? Sweet. Adore being a female? Wicked cool. Keep that pride in who you are, but recognize it doesn't make you anything more than the person next to you. I love African Americans - I also love Africans (they take issue with being grouped together), but I also love Asians, Arabs, Europeans, Latin Americans, and Caucasians. I love the homosexuals and heterosexuals equally! Having a different culture and ethnicity is really cool, whether American or Tongan or Cambodian. Ladies are baller, so are the gentlemen. For me it's just frustrating to see everyone become so polarized about this stuff. You don't have to like someone's opinion, you don't have to agree, but they are just entitled to theirs as you are to yours. You don't even have to agree with me about any of this! It's just the ridiculously long train of thought I come back to time and time again. This morning it started with Chick-Fil-A, tomorrow it will start with something else.

That's all for now, feel free to feed back!