Favorite "Meditation of My Heart"

Call unto me,

and I will answer thee,

and shew thee great and mighty things,

which thou knowest not. --Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Saturday, January 22, 2011

52 Million Kids Who Can't Change the World

Of course, I don't remember the night that I was born, but many of my family remember it well.  Overall, they seem to mostly remember the crying, praying and worrying. In fact my own grandma was so worried that she couldn't remember my name, only part of the list of physical problems, and only after a couple days, would she realize that I was named after her.  The shock of having a child for whom the doctor could not say, "She has all her fingers and toes.  She is perfect." was felt not only by my parents, but by my grandparents and aunts and uncles.  By the time I have memories, I had already shown my family that I was an active and happy child. The family had decided to let me do whatever my non-disabled cousins did and just let me show them what I could and couldn't do for myself. The grieving was over and my parents had located specialists, met other parents with children with more severe challenges and we knew that the road ahead was do-able.

Me at 11 months

Exactly two weeks after I was born in 1973, the Supreme Court handed down rulings on Rowe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton on January 22nd.  Since that time, few children have been born with my disabilities which had been occurring every 3 to 5 years.  Among those who have been born is the cutest little boy named Landon who lives in Louisiana and a 10 year old girl born in Korean.  I have always felt a burden for the unborn children and the families making decisions of life and death while grieving and usually without accurate knowledge of the potential of their child.  My burden was only intensified when I realized that the news of the unborn child's disability is often paired with the assumption by medical professionals that an abortion will be scheduled.  This crisis point seems like a poor time to be making life and death decisions especially since trusted medical professionals frequently try to steer this decision towards abortion.

I have often been confused by how a medical school can turn out 2 highly skilled class mates, one a high risk OB physician and one a pediatric cardiac surgeon, YET the high risk OB is more likely to send an expectant mom to an abortion provider than to their cardiac colleague.  Reproductive medicine seems to now view its rolls as prevention of unplanned pregnancy, infertility treatments and gatekeeper to make sure all babies born meet society's stringent standard of perfection.

When I found out I was pregnant with Grace, I was 23 years old and was in the ER with the worst flu of my life.  I had a better job than most 23 year olds and I was buying my home.  However, I was also single and my pregnancy was unplanned.  The ER nurse gave me a list of abortion providers as the doctor gave me the news.  The next day I called my ob/gyn, who let me know that due to my disability, I would need a high risk doctor.  I already knew the risks of my hip not being able to hold together, but was surprised to learn that the referral was out of fear that my child would be disabled, not due to my hip problems.  (My disability has no known risk of being inherited.)  I then went to an amazing high risk doctor named Dr. Dix.  Later she would find out that I had a dermoid cyst growing and would soon be competing for space with my baby.  Dr. Dix was the doctor whom I needed.  She inspired confidence and built a vision of a successful pregnancy.  Unfortunately, her partner doctor at the time was just the opposite.  During visits with him, he would advise dangerous extensive testing, exaggerate the risks of my health situation, advocate abortion with handfuls of pamphlets and he would tell me that I had been brain washed by people into believing that disabled people had a quality of life like mine.  He assure me that I was a rarity.  However, due to many lengthy stays in a children's hospital and though working for a disability rights organization, I knew that I had more knowledge about the "quality of life" of disabled people than this dangerously misinformed doctor.

Needless to say, I couldn't help wondering about others in the waiting room on days that this doctor was seeing patients.  Most were young and had limited education and limited life experiences.  All of us were trusting our doctor to know what was best for our babies, but at least one doctor in that office seemed to have his own agenda, which he obviously thought guaranteed "perfect" babies.  Dr. Dix removed my cyst at 24 weeks.  It was a surgery that had some difficulties, but it was successful.  Unfortunately, her partnering doctor delivered Grace while Dr. Dix was out of town.  I was in labor for 46 hours, which I believe could have been shortened, but I think the doctor was seeing this as a way for me to pay the price of not following his advice.  He had warned me that Grace would probably be small and have a host of problems so after she arrived weighing in at 9lbs 4oz and 21 inches long, the doctor never really said anything else to me.

I was offered abortion resources at every turn and occasionally someone would suggest adoption.  However, rarely was I just simply congratulated that I was about to be a mom.  When I think of 38 years of legal abortions in the United States, I am overwhelmed by the over 52 million moms-to-be who didn't feel congratulated, who were not celebrated and who didn't feel that their kid could change the world.   As a Christian, I do not believe that sex makes a baby, but God allows babies to be made through sex at just the perfect time and in just the perfect way for each one to complete His will.  Each child has potential beyond the conditions of their birth because God has a plan for each mom and each child. 

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. --Psalms 139:14

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
the fruit of the womb is his reward. --Psalms 127:3

BTW-If you are a mom or a mom-to-be reading this, "Mega Congratulations!" 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January's Progress

Gloominess Postponed:

Well my gloominess are lifting or at the very least, being postponed until April or May.  Besides more and more unexpected projects keep coming in at work and home, so I really don't have time to be gloomy right now! 

Pantry "Eat Down" Continues:

The great pantry "eat down" challenge is heating up.  A few days ago our most picky eater Corrine was on the verge of a meltdown as her favorites started disappearing and she thought she was facing PBJ sandwiches for the rest of the month!  Corrine was advocating cleaning out the cabinets by giving it to the food closet because (and I quote) "those people will appreciate this stuff, unlike us".  So I have started posting the next couple days' menus in advance and everyone seems happier knowing what creative uses I've found for our supplies.  I made a few costly errors in planning the use of the pantry surplus since I did not take a full inventory before starting the menu planning.  For example,  I used all the frozen hot dogs before finding the frozen hot dog buns so I had to go buy more hot dogs.  However, I think we are on schedule of the "eat down" to end on or about February 4th.  Tonight I made the last roast.  Still ahead of us is orange roughy, tilapia, 3 packages of corn tortillas, 2 chickens, 1 turkey breast and a few beef ribs....plus lots of canned veggies and dry beans.  We have a few things that I always buy in bulk so they are not part of the "eat down", but they are nice to help me fill out the menu. 

Plans for After the "Eat Down":

When I teach business classes we encourage leaders of manufacturing businesses to consider JIT inventory management which views inventory as waste because it is money spent, but not in use.  JIT or Just-In-Time was developed by Toyota in the 1950s and I'm going to be the nerdy housewife/adjunct business instructor who tries to put JIT to use in the area of my groceries and household goods.  I already realize a set amount of inventory is needed to maximize the cost savings of bulk purchases and to be prepared for an emergency.  However, these surplus items are going to be planned into the menu and grocery list so that last month's emergency supplies are the beginning of the following month's menu.

  Using this JIT inspired method, I think I can achieve the following:
1.  Fresher food and no waste due to expiration
2.  Less clutter in the cabinets
3.  Fewer trips to the grocery store.  It should be 3 to 4 trips per month.
4.  Greater variety of foods and dishes with more nutrition
5.  Better use of coupons and sale items through planned meals

So I'm already working on February's menu and shopping list; I'm locating coupons and finding new ways to $ave!  It is not my goal to reduce what we spend on household costs, but rather it is my goal to get more usable "stuff" and to get better usable "stuff" for the $1000 per month that I spend.

(If I can figure out how, then I'll post my February plan and costs as I go through the month.  Plus unlike Dilbert's cartoon below, hopefully Wal-Mart and other retailers will keep doing what they do best so I won't need such an overstocked pantry.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Blues & Birthday

I've had the "gloomies" for about 2 weeks.  I'm really not sure exactly why because it seems to be several things combined.  I was reading a friend's blog earlier this week, and she explained parts of  how I'm feeling better than I ever could. 

She wrote of her emotions:

Happiness when spending quality time with my children and husband.

Anger at myself for overeating and having poor self control.

Overwhelmed with having a hectic, busy, dirty, chaotic house.

Worried about my children.

Embarrassed to go to the gym and work out.  (I don't embarrass easily, but mine would be...Too lazy to load up the babies and to go to the gym and to unload the babies and to work out, etc AND angry at myself for being lazy)

Frustrated at the ignorance of some people.

Anxious about our finances.

Irritation from problem children.

Enraged by said children's behavior at times. (I get much less patient than I want to be when trying to write coherent reports for work and take care of the kids.)

Exhausted most of the day.


I was so glad to hear another mom, whom I respect, give voice to these sometimes overwhelming feeling.  Strangely enough I found it encouraging.  I am so thankful for Kim being willing to write so honestly about her feelings...and mine!

My birthday outing was great.  Mr. Workman took me to Cafe on the Route for the first time.  It was featured on Diners, Drive-in, & Dives on the Food Network.  The food was amazing and Mr. Workman had reserved us the table directly in front of the fire place.  It was a lovely evening.  I had really hoped for going to do something like see a play, rather than just going to eat since I feel like I already do enough of that at home.  This feeling of disappointment is rare for me and I think it was brought on in part by my hope for an activity with the potential of chasing away the gloomies.  Oh well, I guess I've got to beat the gloomies some other way.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:5-6a

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year

I love New Year's because I love organization!  New Year's is a chance to get re-organized and to improve on last year's spreadsheets.  Menus, budgets, and goals all get re-adjusted to better meet the needs ahead.  These are prayerful considered in an effort to make our priorities match with God's priorities for the money and resources that He provides.  This year we have an ambitious budget with the goal of living off our base income.  Things like my teaching, Mr. Workman's translating, my unexpected contracts at work and hopefully nice tax returns will be going  to achieve the following:
  1. to help us quickly pay off the $4500 in medical bills we accumulated in October 2010 (deductible & co-insurance time)
  2. to put braces on Corrine's teeth
  3. to pay into our emergency fund to bring it back up where it was when the boys arrived
  4. to finish fencing the back yard and pouring a concrete patio
  5. to install a new deck with a ramp into the backyard
  6. and if all this is accomplished...then saving to fund our emergency fund by an extra 50%
  7. and if God REALLY blesses, then a second washer and dryer hook-up and a super large capacity washer and dryer
We had hoped that this would be the year we added a van or other vehicle that could transport us all at once, but reality has hit that it is not in the budget this year.  As many of you know, Mr. Workman and I try to live as debt free as possible...medical bills and mortgage still haunt us, but someday we'll get them licked too!  

So as part of getting the household budget off to a good start, this month we are going to "eat down" the pantry....We have a lot of mixed supplies (lots of can goods, some mixes, many cereals, frozen meat, frozen wheat bread and frozen veggies) so I'm only buying baby formula and what is needed to make meals out of what we have already.  So far in 2011, we have had pancakes with bacon, lasagna, cheesy broccoli potato soup, and tonight's dinner is16 bean soup with beans with cheese sandwiches and pumpkin pie.  Tomorrow's dinner will be crock pot chicken risotto with Normandy blend veggies and maybe a bunt cake.  Needless to say this is going to get tougher as the month continues....kind of like my own "Iron Chef" challenge.  I'll keep you posted.....