Friday, April 27, 2012

Watoto


About a year ago Zac's parents traveled to Uganda to serve at a Watoto children's village.  I thought this was great and was very excited for them - but didn't really know what Watoto was all about.  Fast forward to today.  From their trip Nana and Grandpa brought the kids a book: Mayambi's Second Chance.  Today we read it for the first time in school.

I was brought to tears by this story of a young boy, orphaned by war and AIDS, who is rescued from the streets and given the chance to live at a Watoto children's village.  I explained to the kids that this is the true story of many children in Uganda.  I don't know why it took us until today to read this book - but God has pricked my heart, and the hearts of my kids to action for Watoto.

After lunch we watched this video from YouTube.  Again, more tears.  We also visited www.watoto.com  We are praying about how we can be involved.
 
There are so many needs in our world, and maybe this one has hit me so hard because Nana and Grandpa were just there.  Maybe it's the images of all of those children and babies.  Maybe it's Jesus.  Please pray for us as we follow God's leading in this.  Maybe He's pricked your heart too.   If yes, let me know, so I can pray for you.

In all of this, God has brought His Word to my heart:
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordy Wednesday

"Attending births is like growing roses. You have to marvel at the ones that just open up and bloom at the first kiss of the sun but you wouldn't dream of pulling open the petals of the tightly closed buds and forcing them to blossom to your time line." - Gloria Lemay

Monday, April 23, 2012

Goings On

After the Vawter family spring break of sorts last week, we are back to our normal - a nice feeling!

I flew back home on Tuesday evening, picked up the kids from Grandma & Grandpa's and got to sleep in my own bed!  We spent the rest of the week without Zac - which was hard.  I always have a new found respect for single parents when Zac is gone.

Zac came home late, late Friday night and then I woke up early Saturday morning to go teach a childbirth class at CareNet in Olympia all day.  I also had a wonderful doula client interview after my class (and they hired me!), so I didn't get home until almost 8pm.  After getting the kids to bed Zac and I were finally able to sit down and process the week together.  I missed him!

We've both had quite a bit of time for reflection this past week.  Some results for me were a complete reworking of the childbirth classes that I am teaching, including creating my own online class!  I am really excited about this and the opportunity it will give me to reach today's parents where they are at - on the internet.  I begin the planning stages this week.  Please keep this in your prayers.  If you know any pregnant couples in the greater Olympia area I would be so grateful if you would pass on my website, my other class offerings are there.  www.beautifulmiracles.net

Another reflection of mine is how much I am tied to things like the internet and my phone.  I was so refreshing to be surrounded by so many last weekend who are not, the old order Mennonites we were blessed to visit.  So this last Sunday I un-pluged.  No internet, no phone. It was beautiful!  I plan to do this every Sunday, as long as I'm not on call.  I feel closer to actual resting on what is supposed to be a day of rest when I can disconnect and just be with my family and God.

Zac made the decision while in Chicago to continue with a major business venture that he had been working on a few months ago.  Please pray for favor as he starts looking for investors, and wisdom as to where God would see to take this.

While enjoying the beautiful weather this weekend Zac and Keanan planted 100 little evergreen trees along our road, I got the front flower beds all weeded, and we all got a little bit sun burnt.  It was nice to be a family of 4 again!

I will try to get back into the picture taking habit and post some of the kids, we are busy with letter X in school this week, swimming lessons, and BSF - back to our normal! =)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Getaway Trip: Day 3

Today was super relaxing.  Zac left in the morning for the Center For Bionic Medicine, a division of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  They are developing a neurally controlled prosthetic leg that Zac is helping to test.  While he was gone I had a wonderful time with just me - very rare!  I finished two books, did some business work on the computer and just chilled =)  Zac came back to the hotel at lunch and I went with him for an hour or so to the Institute.  It was really neat to see what they were doing.

After Zac was done for the day we went out to dinner at The Purple Pig.  The food was very different, but really good!  We then walked around downtown and ended up getting drinks at the Signature Lounge in the John Hancock building, on the 96th floor!!  The view was amazing - the city seems to go on forever.

I fly out in the morning and can't wait to see the kids again!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Getaway Trip: Days 1 and 2


Zac and I arrived late on Friday night to Ramer's Bed and Breakfast in Goshen, Indiana.  Alta and Issac Ramer are Old Order Mennonites, which means they have electricity but do not drive cars.  They also dress "plain" which means long dresses and head coverings for the women and black "suits" with black hats for the men.  We couldn't see much because it was dark, so we went straight to bed.  I could not sleep very much because I was so excited about being in Amish country!

The next morning we woke up in our beautiful part of the house (it was the grandparent house that many Amish / Old Order Mennonite have attached to the main part of the house).  Alta brought over a wonderful breakfast, and we met her for the first time.  I am so in awe of her plain attire and was giggling with glee after she left the room.

Immediately after breakfast I suddenly developed the worst headache of my life.  I was laying on the floor in the bathroom when Issac came over to "our part" to chat with Zac.  After a few minutes of intense pain I had to call Zac for help.  As soon as he came in I puked up my wonderful breakfast from the pain.  I told Zac I needed help, please take me to the hospital.  Zac lead me out to the car and we drove about 20 minutes to Elkhart County General Hospital.  I could not open my eyes from the pain.  They got me in a bed right away and hooked up to some drugs.  A CT Scan was done, which was clear.  The doctor (who was so great through this whole ordeal) then preformed a lumbar puncture, when came back not clear.  There was red blood cells in my spinal fluid which usually means a brain anurisym.  SHOCK!  Another CT Scan was done, but this time they injected dye into my veins to get a better picture of my brain.  About an hour later the results came back all clear.   This mean the lumbar puncture had been "traumatic" which happens 20% of the time.  My head was feeling much better after the pain drugs, so the doctor wrote up a prescription and we were out of there - 8 hours after we arrived!  Not sure what happened with my head, but it's been fine since this incident.

I was weak from not having any food all day so we made our way South to Amish Acres and had a great dinner.  It was on the way there that I saw my first horse and buggy on the road!  We actually saw 3 on the way there and another 2 on the way back to the B&B.  We made it back in time to walk around the farm with Issac (it's a dairy) as he fed the calves - so cute!  It had been a long day so we went in to "our part" of the house and called it a night.

On Sunday we woke up to another wonderful breakfast from Alta and then got ready to join them for church.  Now I have read A LOT about the Amish and "Plain Folk" in general, and all of the accounts of the church service was EXACTLY like I have read!!!  We were instructed to park our rental car closest to the road so we would be out of the way of the horse and buggy's.  There were TONS of horse and buggy's!!!!  Coming from every direction to the meeting house.  There was not electricity in the building and outhouses outside.  Alta and Issac met us at our car and that was the last we really saw of each other for about 3 hours!  At church the women go in one door and stay on one side of the building and the men go in another door and have their own side.  Inside was rows and rows of wooden pews.  Alta explained that the older people sat in front, then the married women and married men in their own section.  The little girls (all of them with braided pigtails, dresses and black shoes) and little boys (all in white dress shirts and black pants) had their own section.  Once the girls got older (around 11) they moved to a different sections, as did the boys.  Around marrying age (17 or so) the girls started wearing their hair in a bun with the prayer covering, and then sat in the back section, across from the older boys.  Of course Zac and I stuck out like sore thumbs, but I didn't care - it was all so amazing!!  The kids were adorable!!  They stared at us, but didn't talk to us =)  Everyone else was so friendly.  Zac estimated about 300 people with an average age of 18.  We didn't get any pictures of the church or the people though, it wasn't allowed.

As church started one of the Preaher's led a song, which was all in German (they speak a form of German to each other and in their homes called Pennsylvania Dutch).  Another preacher commented on the Old Testament story of Daniel in English.  The Elder then read Mark 12 in German and then another Preacher commented on it for a very long time - but it was in English, so we could understand.  There was a song in English, some kneeling prayer and more commenting by the Preachers and then we were dismissed.  Alta told me they did more in English then usual since Zac and I were there.  I loved watching the people, especially the kids during the service.  They sat through it all, without any issues!  There were 2 cribs off in a side room for sleeping babies, but that's it.

Afterwards I went out one of the women's doors with Alta to the front of the building to watch all the Father's come pick up thier families in the buggy's.  I was amazed how many people they could fit in a little buggy!  It was so neat to watch (and hear!) them all go off down the road.  Zac and I said our goodbyes and meanered our way back to Chicago to drop off our rental car.

 Here's some pictures of the morning:



After we dropped off the car we took the train/subway to our hotel, right in the middle of downtown Chicago - talk about a culture shift!  We had a wonderful dinner uptown at a little restaurant called Rose Angeles.  On the walk home it started to downpour, with lightening and thunder!  But it was still 70 degrees - so different from home!

We are having a wonderful time - but I am missing the kids a lot.  It's worse because they have both come down with horrible rashes, which we think is poison oak/ivy =)  Please keep them in your prayers.  More to come later!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordy Wednesday

If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it. - John H. Kennell, MD

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter 2012

 Grandma and Grandpa with all the kids!  (Until our new baby cousin arrives in the next few weeks!!)



Saturday, April 7, 2012

A video - "He Arose!"

We've been practicing all week as we get ready for Easter Sunday tomorrow.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

This morning the kids and I walked through the Stations of the Cross.  I was pretty serious about it as we read the scripture that went with each station.  Keanan was very attentive, and when I asked him why he thought we called it "Good Friday" since Jesus died, he responded right away with "because He died for us."

Here's a picture of our entire Holy Week journey so far.  We will add a picture of the sealed tomb tomorrow, and a picture of an angel sitting on the rolled away stone on Sunday.  I have really enjoyed this journey with the kids and will definitely be doing it again next year.

I shared this video on Facebook, but it's worth sharing here too.  It's Friday...but Sunday's coming!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs


We have been receiving weekly produce boxes for a few months now from Full Circle and LOVING it!  Great variety, great quality, and all organic.  In addition to our produce box I can add items from their "green grocery" section, so when I saw the natural egg dying kit I jumped on it.

Our box comes every Monday, so this is what we did Monday night.  I love how they turned out - and no vinegar smell!  We will definitely do this again in years to come!

Wordy Wednesday


Only with trust, faith, and support can the woman allow the birth experience to enlighten and empower her. - Claudia Lowe

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Some Unexpected Bible Study

As we began our journey through Holy Week with the printables I mentioned in my earlier post, I started to wonder about some of the events that were included.  For Monday the printable said Jesus visited with Mary and Martha.  Hmmm, I said to myself, I'm pretty sure that didn't happen during Holy Week.  So to my Bible I went.  Sure enough, not a Holy Week event.  Then I started to notice other things: no mention of events like Jesus clearing the temple, the woman anointing Jesus, and Judas and the plot against Jesus.  This was fixed easy enough by searching for images of these events and printing them myself.

I am reading through all four gospel accounts of Holy Week this week and in doing so noticed some things about the traditional Stations of the Cross - 5 of the stations are not mentioned in the Bible!  They might be Catholic Church tradition, but I only want to teach my kids the Easter account from the Bible, so that was out.  In doing some more research online, I discovered that in 1991 the Pope announced a "new" Scriptural Stations of the Cross.  These 14 stations follow the accounts of Good Friday that are actually mentioned in the Bible.  So with some fancy copy/paste/print work, we have a new set to use on Friday!  The above link will take you to pictures of these stations.

I'll post some pictures soon!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Holy Week


While we are not Catholic, there are many things that I admire about the Catholic Church and came to respect after attending Saint Martin's University, a private Catholic college.  Reverence for God is one of these things - I think we miss a lot of that in Protestant churches.  Another is the celebration of Holy Week.  I knew about Palm Sunday, a little bit about Good Friday, and of course Easter, but that's about it.  There is so much more to it!  So this week we are digging in to our Catholic roots (on both my and Zac's side) and taking a journey with our kids though Holy Week!

I am using some great printables from here and the Stations of the Cross to help us along our journey.  Our theme in the school room this week is all about Easter, focusing on our Resurrection Eggs and memory verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17.  We are also learning my favorite Easter Hymn, He Arose, to sing at Grandma and Grandpa's house on Sunday.  I'm excited to make Resurrection Rolls with the kids on Easter too!

Our new camera is supposed to arrive tomorrow, so I will update with pictures as we journey through Holy Week!