Sunday, April 30

An Adventure in the City

My kids and I like to go on "adventures" now and then. We'll walk down to the bus stop and hop on Tri-met's number 8 that takes us down to the Convention Center MAX stop. Sometimes we'll head out towards Grammy's in Gresham or head the other direction to meet Allan near his work. It is always truly an adventure to take pre-schoolers on public transport, but I like exposing them to our city and the cool cultures all around us that often converge in one vehicle.

Yesterday's adventure definitely exposed us to some of our city's..."culture". A lady, let's call her "Shelly", got on a few stops after we did. She had the look of a hard life - aged and abused beyond her years. She sat across from us next to a guy, we'll call "Greg", an almost blind guy with a guide dog, whom Shelly obviously knew, but hadn't seen, for some time. The loud conversation between them went to how she recently had some tooth problems. Within minutes they were making a deal for Greg to buy Vicodin, presumably given for tooth pain, from Shelly. They make their arrangements (apparently about $1.50 per pill), and she goes to sit farther back in the bus with her fiancee. They continue their loud conversation down the length of the bus about Shelly's previous boyfriend who, at last meeting, nearly beat her to death. Greg then picks up a conversation with "Jack", a hippie-type playing his guitar (very well, I might add), sitting next to him. Jack shows Greg the pills he bought earlier in the day from a different vendor, so Greg, who obviously has studied pharmaceuticals extensively, informs Jack of the details regarding Jack's latest purchase (Greg declares himself a "light weight" and prefers Vicodin, but he's sure Jack will do well with his heavier ones).

I was really struck by this encounter. At first I was just amazed at the blatant nature of their behavior. They were dealing and comparing their prescription drugs three feet in front of me and my little children and within earshot of the entire bus, including the bus driver. Then I was struck by the reality. This is life for these dear people. It's all about numbing the pain of whatever life circumstances have gotten them on that bus on that day.

I walked away from our adventure with one repeating thought: They don't know. I just keep coming back to that thought throughout the rest of the day: They don't know. So many people we see in this city don't the Truth. The revealing, liberating, passionate, loving Truth, who is Jesus Christ. I don't know what to do with that tonight, but to pray for them - and for me - to know and believe and live the Truth.

Tuesday, April 25

Life Lessons

Intimately experiencing a child growing up is such an honor. It is an incredible joy to witness your own little one discover some of the cool things about life - examining their planted seeds grow into flowers or veggies, mastering the important life tasks of skipping or riding a bike.

Life also teaches some painful lessons that I would rather not see my children learn. There was a day a few months back when Trinity said, "Mommy, I'm not really a princess, am I?" "Of course you are! You are the princess of our family." "But I'm not really a princess." This would have been a wonderful opportunity for me to talk about heaven with her - about how she is really a princess, just like I am. We are both the daughters of The King, with our mansion and jewels awaiting our arrival in heaven. It's kind of like we're just in disguise as paupers until we reach heaven. Just because we don't wear gowns and crowns every day does not change the fact that we are, in fact, royal princesses. I did say all of that to her later, but at the moment I was paralyzed by the loss of innocence I was witnessing in my precious girl.

Yesterday she hit me again with another one of those comments that stabbed my heart. "I wish I was Aunika" (a friend from school). "Why's that?" "Because Aunika can do things that I can't do." I literally felt my heart ache. She went on to explain that Aunika can swing all the way across the rings at the park, a very important feat for pre-schoolers. It's true - Aunika is a little monkey and very athletic for a five-year-old. Of course I shared with Trinity that she is able to do things that Aunika can not (to which Aunika hollered from the next room, "Like what?"), and that everyone learns to do things at different paces. But the message was clear. My daughter feels less about herself because she is learning to compare herself with others and sees herself as inadequate.

This is what parenting is all about. Sure, it is necessary that I teach my kids how to tie their shoes and go potty in the toilet. It's important that I help them practice reading and writing. But what really matters are these life lessons: You are a child of The King. You are precious and worthy because you belong to Him. It's all about Him and His glory. Heaven is where we get to be together forever.

Saturday, April 22

Lilac Bloom

I didn't know that the big bush out our bedroom window was a beautiful purple lilac bush until it exploded in color this week!

Tuesday, April 18

Easter Weekend

Allan, Kristi (& baby), Trinity & Connor, Easter, 2006

We had a nice Easter weekend. It started on Friday evening with a Passover celebration with several of our good friends. It was a really lovely event - and peaceful with no kids! There were several aspects of the night's rituals which particularly touched me. Tasting the bitter herbs reminds us, not subtlely, of our sin and utter hopelessness before being freed from captivity. Eating the lamb was a very touching communion moment for me; there was so much power in the symbolism. Examining the events that surrounded the initiation of our current communion service was also an important message for me to experience. Jesus' offer of the cup of wine symbolizes his proposal of marriage to his followers, as per the custom of a man offering his potential bride a cup of wine as a proposal covenant.

I wish we as a culture had more profound rituals such as this to commemorate our important events. Allan brought up a great point that evening...because we are a young country, made up of people groups and cultures from all over the world, the great rituals that others experience in their home countries have been lost, watered-down, in our great melting pot. Therefore, we have no one set of rituals, rich with meaning and heritage, to mark our important life events. That leaves it up to us as smaller groups - families, churches and groups of friends - to implement and teach new (or old) rituals for the next generation. I think that is a fun assignment to pursue!

Easter day was nice, full of good food (non kosher, to say the least) and egg hunts in the wet grass with lots of family around (more Easter photos). Hope you had a good Easter weekend as well!

Monday, April 10

Baby Names

As we head towards the last trimester of this pregnancy, I think it is probably time for Allan and I to start some baby name discussions. Up to this point, it has just been me occasionally hollering across the house, What do you think about ____?, and getting his initial No, I don't think so or Hmmm...I'll have to think about that one or something like that.

Like I said in an earlier post, everyone has baby naming criteria - trendy or unique, family names, alliterations, etc. Here are some of the tendencies we lean towards in our search:

In naming our kids, I have generally looked at Scottish names or those who could at least sound Scottish. I figure we give our kids my husband's family heritage (English) through our last name, so I can sneak in my love for the Cash homeland through our childrens' first names. The problem is that the Scottish people have some weird names for our culture, like Alastair, Chalmers, Finlay, Malise, and Ogilvy (isn't that a butter spread or something?).

We tend to be drawn towards names that are not too high on the popularity list but that are not totally unheard of either. When Trinity was born, her name was ranked about 75th in popularity; two years later, Connor was around 60th (they've both moved up the lists since then).

I don't need the name to start or end in any particular letters. In fact, I think I look towards names that are not the same starting letters of any in our family.

I like my boy names to be manly; I prefer my girl names to be strong and feminine. I leave the boy names in the boy list; the poor guys are running out of options!

For the middle names, we, somewhat accidently, ended up with a similar bent. Rose and Sage are both one syllable words that are both a plant and a color. At this point, Jade is the only other word to match that trend that we can think of!

My friend, Jennifer, who is due this next month reminded her readers to carefully consider the acronym made by the child's initials, as well. I have read that kids with positive acronyms (GOD, ACE) are happier and more well adjusted than those children with less appealing initial combinations (DUD, ASS, DOG).

So, with our criteria in mind, feel free to NAME OUR BABY! I started to share some that have lingered on our lists through the years, but I'd like to start from scratch. I'll keep you posted on the progress...

Sunday, April 2

Someone Stop This Rollercoaster!

When people use the "too busy" card for almost anything, especially something like blogging, I internally cringe. Because it isn't generally that we are too busy, but that we are making choices to spend our time in one way or another. One may have chosen to read a good book or watch Lost or reorganize the garage over something else, but it doesn't mean that one has been under some proverbial gun twenty-four/seven.

To quote a friend, I say all that to say... I was going to write about how I have truly been too busy to blog lately, although topics swirl through my mind daily. I could tell you about my husband being gone on another Luis Palau festival trip. I could tell you about the various family escapades the kids and I have been involved in since Jeff, Cheryl and the kids arrived from Uganda. I would love to share my new found appreciation for Poison Control after Connor and a cousin taste tested Grandaddy's pills. I'd love to share about a good book I just finished or a controversial blog and news topic that has been on my mind a lot. I could go on for days about all of the transitions happening at PUMP that make me hopeful and tearful all at the same time. Then there's all the pregnancy stuff - the daily comments about how I must be having twins or my due date is wrong, the continuing sleeplessness, the name game, the joyful anticipation, the cute antics of my two other kids getting mentally ready for this change.

So, there you have it in a nutshell - the Reader's Digest condenced version of my life this week. Gotta run. I know there is something else I'm supposed to be doing right now!