Tag Archives: Prayer

Me and My Blessed Life

When I was younger my dad said to me a number of times, “Bria, you were born the right colour, in the right place, at the right time.” I never really knew what he meant, so I’d nod my head and smile as though I understood. Now, before you start ranting on about how that’s ‘whatever label or ist that you want to ascribe to it’, I believe he was trying to teach me to be thankful for my privileged/blessed lot in life, not to take my situation for granted and squander away my opportunities.

However, lately I’ve found it troubling. I’ve begun to understand what he tried to teach me so many years ago, but with greater understanding comes greater responsibility. These are the thoughts that have been plaguing my mind lately. Please don’t take them the wrong way.

I have blonde hair, blue eyes and white skin. I don’t know what it’s like to be a minority. I’ve never been a recipient of racism. I’ve  never been turned down for employment because of how I look or talk or because of where I come from. Yet I complain about my skin, my hairstyle and having to wear glasses (that are covered under my husbands benefits…I don’t even pay for the damn things).

I have my health and an able body, one that was blessed with growing three children. I don’t know the feeling of chronic pain. I’m a stranger to the long and lonely years of infertility. I don’t bear marks or scars of accidents or ailments. Yet I complain about having wide hips, about needing to lose 10 pounds, about a few stretch marks here or there and a saggy stretched-out tummy.

I have a house over my head, a kitchen full of food, a nice yard for the kids to play in and a car in my driveway (and a truck to tow our boat). I don’t know what it’s like to be homeless and I probably never will. I don’t know what it’s like to be truly hungry. Yet I complain about our renovations, about not having enough room, about our neighbourhood and I’m constantly think about moving to a ‘nicer’ place. I complain about not having anything to cook for dinner when my fridge, pantry and freezer are full.

I live in a province that is unbelievably abundant and beautiful in a country that is free. I don’t know what it’s like to be a refugee. I don’t know what it’s like to live in a place that is war-torn. Yet I complain about our harsh winters, our giant mosquitoes, our bad roads and our high taxes.

I have family who loves me, friends who care about me and a church community that supports me. I have money in my wallet and in the bank. I go on leisurely trips outside of the city to beaches and cottages and, on occasion, hotels. I don’t know what it’s like to not have a family. I don’t know what it’s like to not have friends. Yet I complain about the little things that irritate me with family, friends and church. I complain about not going on more grandiose trips to more exotic destinations.  I’m forever complaining about not having enough money.

I have a loving husband who has an amazing job and a secondary source of income. He treats me well and smothers me with affection everyday. He supports me in everything I do and loves that I stay home to take care of his kids. I have three beautiful children who are healthy and smart. They have things they need to work on, as we all do, but they are well behaved and love their parents and each other very much. They are free to go to school to learn and play with their friends, regardless of race or religion.

This is my privileged life. I don’t battle AIDS or famine or threats of war. I don’t fear widespread diseases or imprisonment because of my faith. Yet I complain and complain and complain. The things I battle are apathy, complacency and idleness.

Sometimes I just hang my head in shame over how blessed my life is and how ungrateful my heart is. I think back to those little outstretched hands poking through the fence in Haiti, begging me for a handful of rice and beans. What would they think of my life up here?

{Lord, teach me to be more like you.}

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Tuesday.

I was pretty nervous yesterday. I woke-up early to start the rush of getting myself and the kids ready to be out the door first thing in the morning. James and I had the fetal assessment appointment with the genetics doctor and a high risk doctor bright and early and Rhys is in Art Camp this week. The kids were picked-up by my mom and we headed over to HSC to find-out what, if anything, was going on with our little baby.

I figured we’d hear one of three outcomes; good news, inconclusive news or bad news. I was anxious thinking about all of them. The genetics doctor was welcoming and kind. James and I both got the impression that he wasn’t concerned at all about the findings of the ultrasound. My chances for having a child born with Down Syndrome (based on age) were 1:1050 but with the findings of our first ultrasound that number was halved to 1:525 for this baby. He didn’t push us to get an amnio, I was apparently booked for one but we declined it, and seemed to agree that we would just wait and see what came-up in the fetal assessment and then we’d go from there.

Afterwards James and I took our papers and made the long walk from one end of the hospital, through the tunnels and all the way to the other to have the ultrasound. Again, our technician was welcoming and kind, and quite funny. She spent awhile looking at the heart and the feet (and all of the other areas she had to cover) then called the high risk doctor in to take a look as well. Both of them weren’t worried at all. The heart still has a few ecogenic focus (white spots) but they aren’t as bright as they were before. The right ventricular tract seems to have corrected itself or they just got a clearer picture this time. The right foot appears slightly off axis, but it’s so slight that neither of them could say either way and it’s something we’ll have to wait until birth to see. The foot was the least of our concerns since it can be easily corrected with casts and surgery. We were praying for a healthy heart and no genetic disorders and it seems those prayers have been answered! Praise God. The genetics doctor will still review the report, but at this point I’d be surprised to hear news other than ‘baby looks healthy’.

This was one of the first images that popped-up on the screen. I immediately looked at James and exclaimed that this baby has Rhys’ exact profile, he agreed. We couldn’t get over how much little perogy already looks like a sibling. Once we got Rhys from his class I handed him the picture and asked who he thought the baby looked like, to which he replied, “Me! That means it’s a boy! Can we name it Rhys?” He was happy about this, although I explained that it doesn’t mean that it’s a boy just because the baby looks like him.

Thank you all for your prayers and support over the past few weeks. I will make-sure to keep you all posted, especially if something else arises from the ultrasound findings. I’m now praying that the only thing we hear from those doctors is ‘healthy baby’ and that I can stay in the care of my midwife, have a natural labour/delivery and be able to birth and the birthing centre.

While we were at the beach last Friday the kids and I collected some feathers that were floating around the area. I thought that we’d put these to use (so they didn’t just float around my house) and so some feather painting! We pulled-out our supplies yesterday afternoon to see how we could paint with feathers. The kids really enjoyed painting with something other than a standard brush, I highly recommend this artsy craft for any children who love to paint.

After our painting adventure I was feeling motivated to organize so I scavenged the basement and brought up what little baby supplies I had held onto and a bunch of Amelia’s clothes to sort into the newly finished closet cabinets that James put into the kids room. There are three of these units in a row. Each has a two doors, a top shelf, a closet rod, one small drawer and two larger drawers. I LOVE them! We are going from an itty bitty impossible to organize closet to loads of proper storage. Amelia has two of the three cabinets for the time being, but I’ve purchased under-the-bed storage for each child so hopefully her vast wardrobe won’t overpower the baby’s space. I also needed to take stock of what baby stuff I still had since my mom and I are taking our annual girls trip to the States soon (can’t wait!) and I plan on purchasing a bunch of odds and ends while I’m down there.

Rhys and Ammie helped me unpack all of the baby clothes, which they were both so thrilled to be included in. Ammie did the standard, “Awwwww, that’s soooooo C-UUUUTE!” for each thing she pulled-out. After the first few items they really REALLY got excited for the baby and started talking all about how they are going to help-out and how they’re going to cuddle it and read to it and make it giggle and laugh.

I have to say, yesterday was a pretty good day. We got some great news and a huge answer to lots of prayer, watched some olympics, did a craft and listened to The Beach Boys while getting excited about the baby.

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The Walk.

It slowly dawned on me just after Christmas that I would be for sure walking Rhys to and from school each and every day. That’s there (for 8:45) and back then there (for 11:45) and back. It’s roughly 1 km each way. So that puts me at 4 km’s a day…with Amelia being pushed, pulled, dragged or carried.

I didn’t really think about our proximity to community schools when we were looking for a house. Rhys was two and I figured that by the time he was five I would have a car, or he’d be able to take a bus at the very least. When I found out that his school was a ‘walking distance only’ (meaning no buses) school I completely freaked-out. Minor nervous breakdown. No joke. But Kindergarten was far enough away that I kept reassuring myself that I would have a car by then.

But, as I said, just after Christmas I realized that I wouldn’t have a car and I would have to walk. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE walking. I drag the kids all over the city making them use their big hobbit feet that the Good Lord blessed them with. I’m up for walking in nice warm sunshine, cool crisp sunshine, heck, even a slight drizzle is fine with me, but let’s face it, we live in Winnipeg! Nice, warm, cool and crisp are words that are only able to be used to describe a few months of our weather. Words more along the lines of blizzard, white-out, frost-bite, hazardous-to-your-health-to-be-outside-for-more-than-two-seconds are what we hear for the majority of the school year. This is what I was worried about. Well, I was worried about all of it to be truthful…but in trying to reduce my anxiety over our approaching situation the visualization exercises I performed would inevitably end with pretty little Amelia and I frozen into an ice block mid stride.

Yup, I was panicked. I prayed for a car. Then I prayed for a car again. I prayed and prayed and prayed for a car. It consumed my every thought. And then one day I stopped and realized that even thought I wanted another vehicle we can’t afford a second vehicle. It would be foolish to get a second vehicle and have to pay insurance and gas and maintenance just because I’m panicked about walking 4 km’s a day. My grandparents walked 8 km’s uphill each way just to get to school…at least I think that’s how the story goes.

So I decided to pray about my attitude. I prayed that maybe, just maybe, God could make me excited about walking Rhys to school. That it wouldn’t be such a big deal in my mind. That He would give me a peace about the whole situation. I prayed that and then forgot about it. A few months later I started thinking about the fast approaching school year and didn’t feel panicked. I actually thought to myself, “Hm, that’ll be some good exercise!” What?? I was looking forward to the walk? I was shocked to say the least. Something that I had been so anxious over was all-of-a-sudden the smallest thing in my mind. I remembered my prayer…not the one for the car but the one for God to change my attitude. I remembered my prayer and thanked Him for, yet again, being faithful in even the smallest things.

It’s true, I’m actually looking forward to the walk. I’m looking forward to the fresh air (even if it is during a blizzard), the exercise, the routine, and the walks home hearing about Rhys’ day and what he’s learned. There are some days that might be rushed and frazzled and, well, not so enjoyable but I’m sure it’s nothing that a warm cup of hot chocolate can’t cure. Ten more days and then we start.

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Early Morning Reflections

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

I feel like so often I get caught-up in worrying about life and wondering what’s going to happen next that I forget to just sit and pray. It’s such a simple thing, so easily done and every single time I finally think to pray I wonder why-the-heck I didn’t do that in the first place.  This morning, as I was blow-drying my hair, I started getting anxious about a certain situation (again) and it’s like a light bulb went off, I just needed to pray about it. So I did. I feel so calm about it now, I know that the pieces will fall into place and that the Lord will be my guide. The Lord is near but so often I just try to push Him away and sort things out on my own…and that never ends well. My encouragement for you and I today is to cast all of our cares upon Him and rest in the peace that will follow.

*On a different note: I get to take Rhys to his Kindergarten classroom today for a ‘Countdown to Kindergarten’ activity. He’s so excited about meeting his teacher and seeing the room and possibly future friends, he can hardly contain himself. Amelia is excited as well, she keeps telling me that she’s 5 so she can go to school too. I think we may have a bit of trouble when she figures-out she’s not in Kindergarten yet. Any time I get to go to the school with Rhys is good, it’ll make the transition for both of us a bit easier.

*On yet another different note: I highly suggest you head over here and read a column by Doug Speirs about how it sucks to live in the same world as Justin Bieber. I wholeheartedly agree. Although the SNL skit he did with Tina Fey was funny…in a gross, “Ew, that’s Justin Bieber” kinda way.

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