Saturday, December 29, 2007
Instead, this is what's occupying my brain space at the moment...
I stub my little toe on my right foot all the time. In fact, I think I may have stubbed it to death. It's been years since I can bend it so it's possible rigor mortis has set in. It has a nail but it's tiny and Hetee teases me all the time that I don't have a nail at all. I can't really argue in my toe's defense because I wouldn't actually call the little hard thing on the tip of it, a nail.
Anyway, I'm trying to quit, but like any bad habit it's hard to stop. It's like a tradition; every time I go into a room, I kick the doorway and stub my right little toe. It's not on purpose but I've almost learned to live with it. I suppose it's because I have bad balance and I tend to be generally accident prone. Maybe it's subconscious hate for my little right toe? Either way, I stubbed it on Christmas day. It was the mother of all stubs and I, a semi-grown woman, had to fight back tears of pain. It still hurts today so it must be still very much alive.
Anyway, Abi's walking around with her daddy's belt draped over her shoulders, saying, "Black Mamba!" trying to scare me. I'm not scared of snakes.
But doesn't this face just make you want to be scared of whatever it is she's trying to scare you with?
Thursday, December 27, 2007
- Winning a blog giveaway! I NEVER win anything. I can't shut up about it!
- Seeing Munkhuush and his mommy at church on Sunday
- Having Amanda all to myself for Christmas vacation
- Seeing the kids so thrilled with their presents
- MY presents (among them jewelry from Hetee AND my in-laws!)
- Nate learning the concept of self-control and putting it into practice on his own
- Kenny's sumo wrestling position
- Being able to help a poor family buy firewood and coal
- Seeing my kids celebrate the holidays with both sets of grandparents
- Sending a package to my friends, Brad and Sara
- Getting a package from Sara
- Abi eating a Popsicle
Although this Christmas season was fraught with sad news, I am trying to focus on the good things and blessings that are all around us. Counting my reasons to smile helps me to do this.
Please pray for Enkhee and Byambaa, a couple from our Ulaan Baatar church. They awoke Christmas morning to find their days old baby boy, dead. Please pray that God's comfort and peace be with them and their 2 small daughters. My heart just aches for them at the thought.
Also pray for Temka, a friend of ours who also lives in UB. She was 8 months pregnant and lost her unborn baby boy and had to have him surgically removed from her womb about 2 weeks before Christmas.
Please keep our little ones in your prayers. Satan is really attacking. Many of our couples are expecting and I know of 2 women now who are experiencing signs of miscarriage.
I'm sorry if I bummed you out with all this stuff. We covet your prayers. Thanks for listening!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Kenneth Urnuun, age 1 and a half (written 10 days after he was born)
My due date wasn’t until June 24 so I was a bit surprised when I woke up to slight contractions on the 1st. I decided to go about life as usual since I have been known to have long, drawn-out labors. I didn’t want to get my or anyone else’s hopes up quite yet. This early first stage kept us on our toes for about 2 weeks off and on and it seemed that life was just revolving around this baby and everything else just slipped into the background. Needless to say that by the time serious labor hit we were more than ready to get on with the show. I felt like the boy who cried wolf. I joked with my husband that maybe I should try another home pregnancy test just to make sure I was indeed pregnant. Many times during those 2 weeks or so we had headed out to the store to buy “last minute things” only to go home and eat it or use it all and have to go back to the store again a few days later. It was taking a toll on my body and my emotions but deep inside I knew I needed to be “sick and tired” of being pregnant because emotionally I wasn’t psyched up about the whole birth thing yet. For some reason I didn’t have the “bring it on” attitude I had had with my other 2. My previous pregnancy ended in miscarriage so I thought maybe that had something to do with it.
Up until the 18th the contractions I had been having would start in the evenings and peter off late at night. Then on the 18th they continued, albeit mildly all night and on to the next morning. I made note of the change but kept it to myself. Then on the night of the 19th they became a bit stronger and again lasted all night. I told Hetee that I thought something might happen that night and he said, without the least bit of compassion I might add, “Don’t get your hopes up”. Then as we went to bed Hetee set his cell phone on stopwatch mode, got a pen and paper, propped himself up with pillows and took note of a few contractions. Then he proceeded to fall asleep! I decided to try and sleep, too. For all I knew I could go days like this! Then I started waking up with the contractions and it was getting uncomfortable to lie down. I slept on and off until about 6 am then got up and went into the living room to pray and read my Bible. The contractions were stronger and caused me to stop what I was doing when they hit. By the time 7 rolled around I could no longer concentrate on what I was reading so I just started praying. I was thankful for the time alone with God before the birth. I gave the situation to Him and told Him that I wanted Him to receive the glory, whatever the outcome. I felt His presence so close and comforting.
I’m not sure what time it was, probably shortly after 7 a.m., I woke Hetee up and asked him to read Psalms to me. He read for a few minutes then decided to call my mom who would be coming for the birth. I thought I wanted her to film it but decided against it at the last minute. Then Hetee fixed my birth nest and got out a few items we might need. I think it was right after that 2 year-old Abi woke up and came snuggle next to me on the floor on a mat Hetee prepared for me. She brought me her beloved blankie and put it under my head. Then for some reason she brought me one of my pregnancy books and said, “Here’s your Bible, mommy. If you read it and pray every day you will grow”. It made me chuckle. Then mom came in and the contractions started getting stronger. I was hard pressed to find a more comfortable position and kept moving around. All the time I had one thought going through my head: I can’t believe I’m doing this AGAIN! My next thought was: Did I say that out loud?
Up until then I should mention that I had been on the toilet a good while that morning emptying my bladder and bowels with almost each contraction. I didn’t take anything for that- it happened naturally. I had not had any bloody show at all so I was still wondering (silly me) if I was really in labor. Around 8 am, I’m guessing, I passed a bit of bloody mucus. Then the back pain hit! I had back labors with my first two but this felt as though I was being torn in two. I had one particularly hard contraction that caught me right in the middle of switching positions and I YELLED “My back! Help me!” At that, Nate (going on 4) came running from his bedroom yelling, “I’m coming, mommy. I’ll help you!” He came and hugged me and rubbed my leg. He was so confident and remembered to do all the things I had told him he could do—rub or pat me, remind me that I can do it, pray, etc. From that moment on he was my focal point. He didn’t move from the foot of the bed where he had a bird’s eye view (I was up on the bed semi-reclining at this point).
My water had not broken so each contraction brought so much pressure with it. Then I felt it coming down the birth canal and starting to bulge. I was trying not to push but it was impossible. I was starting to wish I had not reclined on the bed but I had tried standing and squatting before and it felt as though my bottom half was just going to drop off. The bed gave me stability but was also giving me counter pressure down there and making things, I felt, go slower. Anyway, it was too late to move as any movement caused really bad pain in my back. At that point Abi was bouncing around on the bed and driving me insane so Hetee made her get down. She fussed and he sent her to her room. I knew I hit transition when I started feeling nauseous and sweaty. Hetee asked if he could break the water and I hesitated for a moment but then gave in as the pressure was unbearable and the bag was very much intact. Some water leaked out and I asked if it was clear. Hetee said it was very clean and clear and we both sighed in relief. Then baby’s head came out in one contraction right after that. What happened next made me regret not having filmed the birth. Nate saw the head and clapped his hands and jumped up and down literally squealing with joy! It was the cutest, most heart-warming thing I have ever seen. Hetee said, “Look at the cute, little head!”, trying to encourage me but inside, he said later, he thought it was huge. I did, too but at that moment I appreciated his tact! Still focusing on Nate I pushed with the next contraction and felt a terrible pain that I knew wasn’t supposed to be there. It caught me by surprise and I cried out. Nate was looking at my face and he got a little panicky but my mom stepped in and told him it was going to be alright. He then proceeded to pray for me on his own, unprompted. It was sweet.
The pain I felt was the result of having a contraction but neither shoulder budging. The baby’s head and face were blue and we thought he might be suffocating. I had at least 1 more contraction and pushed but still no progress with the shoulders. Hetee pressed down on my perineum while at the same time, with his other hand lifting my lower back off the bed and that freed one shoulder. I think he tried hooking the other one but it came out on its own. For some reason I wasn’t scared. The look of confidence on Hetee’s face was so calming and reassuring. I also had confidence in myself that I was going to get this baby out no matter what! Once the shoulders were out he slid out easily and boy, what a BIG boy! We turned him over and Hetee pealed off the bag membranes as the baby was still completely in it. Nate clapped his hands, so happy to have a brother. He assured us that he KNEW it was going to be a boy.
Kenny began breathing but sputtered a bit and kind of whimpered. I held him face down and we tried to suction him but there wasn’t really anything to suction. Little by little his breathing improved and he was able to nurse. The blue on his face turned out to be bruising from being so big and in position up against my pelvic bone for so long. His eyes were also very bloodshot. At that point, for some unknown reason, I burst out in tears and started apologizing! For what? I have no idea. I just felt a rush of tears and the words “I’m sorry” just came with it. Hetee was perplexed and just held me till I calmed down. Looking back I think I apologized for getting everyone scared about the shoulders getting stuck—like it was my fault. Then, sobbing, I said “I never want to do this again, do you hear me?!” Hetee just smiled and said “OK, you don’t have to”. I still don’t know if that was me or just the hormones talking but I wish I would have gotten that on record. It might help to see it next time I think about having another one. =)
My placenta came out about 3 hours later. Waiting that long was new to me. With Nate in the hospital the dr.s pulled it out. Then with Abi’s birth it had already started coming off the wall of uterus before she was born. By the time she came out it came out right behind her.
I wanted to wait until after the placenta came out to cut the cord but after about an hour I was getting cold and had to go pee so we clamped and cut the cord. I was on the toilet when he cried a loud, lusty cry for the first time and as soon as I heard it I got a little cramp and down into the toilet the placenta went! It almost plugged the drain. It was a lot more soft and healthy looking than Abi’s. Again I realized how close we may have truly been to losing her. Her placenta was hard and rubbery. This one had more of a spongy texture like it is described in the books I’ve read.
Hetee wrapped Kenny then he and my mom weighed him then weighed the blanket separately. Kenny weighed 4.3 kg (about 9.4 lbs.) and was 50 cm long. He was a good 2 pounds heavier than Nate and Abi were. I don’t know if he had true shoulder dystocia although what I’ve read since sounds mighty close to it. Either way, once again, I’m glad to have been able to handle the situation at home and not depend on a dr’s split-second decision. My dad always says, “If you want something done right do it yourself.” and that’s exactly the way I feel about birth.
Kenny is 10 days old now. The bruising/swelling and most of the red in his eyes is gone. He had a little jaundice but it has passed, too. We were blessed with another son.
Kenny's birth-day! Note the bruising on his little face.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Hope you enjoy!
Abigail Nendin’s birth story (written shortly after her birth 3 years ago)
I have been imagining for weeks how I would write my birth story and now that she’s here no words seem to do the experience justice. It was absolutely amazing.
When we first found out I was pregnant we were in the
We searched for a midwife with no luck. After a few weeks we gave up that idea and decided to look for a Mongolian doctor to come and assist us. That idea never sat well with me because of my past experience with the Mong. doctors. Also the fact that they have all, at one time or another, performed abortions made me not want to have them anywhere near me or my baby. By then I was beginning to entertain the thought of unassisted childbirth, a concept that I really hadn’t considered before. I didn’t say anything to my husband, but just prayed about it. Then one day he just said, out of the blue, “We don’t need any doctors. I think I can catch the baby”. Then the madness began! We read every single piece of material we could get our hands on –websites, articles, books, you name it, we read it!
By the time my due date (March 19th) rolled around we were confident and ready. We just had to wait and wait we did. Around the 12th my contractions started getting stronger but not enough to interfere with my daily activities. They would even get close enough to time them for a while in the evenings and at night but would peter off in the morning. I went like this for several days and was trying not to get anxious. I kept telling myself I still had a long way to go. I slept a lot and ate like crazy to keep my energy up. By the 4th morning of waking up to “nothing” I was convinced that I was going to be pregnant forever. Even my 19 month old, Nate was getting impatient. Every morning he would go over the bassinet and ask for the baby. We’d tell him “not yet” and he’d sigh and walk away.
Then on the 20th I woke up to blood, a lot of it! Blood isn’t a good sign in early labor so we began to pray. At that point Hetee and I both felt we were going into spiritual warfare and that there was no turning back.
The bleeding stopped that afternoon but returned the following morning. I was passing bigger clots now too. Fear began to creep in as I was almost sure the placenta was detaching from the uterine wall too soon. We continued to pray and the bleeding tapered off once again. By 7pm that evening (Sunday) my contractions were strong and coming closer together. I decided not to focus on them and proceeded to make supper and wash dishes, pausing for each contraction. I felt really good and full of energy. We put Nate to bed around 8:30 and I lay awake on the sofa until around 11 then fell asleep between contractions for about 30 minutes. Lying down became too uncomfortable so I sat up and asked Hetee to read Psalms to me. After a while I felt like I needed to walk around more to get things moving faster. Around 2 am and we decided to call mom and a couple of friends who were supposed to come for the birth. We got through to mom and she came right over but Hetee couldn’t get through to our friends. Soon after mom came I hit transition and decided to get into the tub. I had been in and out and wasn’t yet sure if I wanted to birth there or not. All I knew at that point was that the hot water felt good. As I lay there, Hetee poured water over my stomach with a cup and it felt so good! I wanted to feel inside. Sure enough, I felt something. It wasn’t the head, it felt more like the umbilical cord. I got really scared and told mom and Hetee that I thought I had a prolapsed cord. I felt it again and realized it was the bag of waters that had not broken yet. =) Boy, what a relief! The next contraction came and my water broke, right there in the tub. Right then I felt instinctively that something was wrong and I needed to hurry and get the baby out. I think it was the Holy Spirit guiding me. I tried to stand to get out of the tub so I would have the help of gravity but as I stood, Abigail began to crown. For a few seconds I lost control and felt like a trapped wild animal, fighting to get out of the tub. It was so confining! The worst thing was I was afraid for my baby’s life. I somehow knew she was in trouble. I made it onto all fours and as I did her head came out. I debated whether or not to wait for another contraction to push her body out but it seemed too long so I prayed for strength and pushed her shoulders out. Everything was quiet and I saw mom and Hetee look at each other. She was dark blue and had her cord was wrapped around her neck 3 times then once around her upper arm. They quickly unwrapped it and Hetee held her face down and patted and rubbed her back. She breathed and cried really loud! Hetee shouted, “YES!!!” At some point he also shouted that it was a girl but I can’t remember exactly when. As I leaned back to nurse her I realized that her cord was white and not pulsing at all. Hetee said it was like that when she first came out. We all cried tears of joy as the reality of it all sunk in-the cord and placenta were not functioning properly and a few more seconds could have meant the worse for our precious little girl.
At about that time Nate woke up and came to meet his little sister. It was love at first sight and he has been fascinated with her ever since.
I nursed her in the tub for about 10 minutes. She latched on right away and nursed like a pro! I looked down at her and saw that she had cried REAL tears! I have never seen a newborn cry tears before.
Hetee noticed that I was still bleeding quite a lot so I took some cayenne pepper tincture and it slowed down so I felt OK to stand up. As I did the placenta slipped out along with several clots and more blood. I climbed out of the tub unassisted and walked back to my bed as mom and Hetee got the baby and the placenta. We tied her cord with a white ribbon mom brought and Hetee cut the cord with the kitchen scissors (I couldn’t even watch!).
She was born at 4:10 Monday morning weighing 3.7 kgs and measuring 50 cm. She has a head full of beautiful black hair and big, shiny, almost-black eyes. Abigail means “Father’s Delight” and her Mongolian name, Nendin, means precious. We are so blessed!
Abigail with Grandma
Friday, December 14, 2007
People often ask me what I think about living in Mongolia. I think they see it as I'm married to a Mongolian so I'm "stuck" here. It's like their way of asking me if I'm happy with my choice. Either way, I like it here and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I do miss friends and family in Mexico and the States, but I'd find it hard to call those places home. My English and Spanish are quickly giving way to Mongolian as my most fluently spoken language. People here think I'm lucky. Mostly my brain just feels confused a lot of the time.
One thing I enjoy about modern day Mongolia are the contrasts. It's very interesting to see how Mongolia has advanced in some areas but not so much in others. I once saw a sheep being shoved into the back seat of a BMW for transportation. Then, the other day, on the way back from Ulaan Baatar, Hetee and I saw parts of a "ger" (yurt) being transported in the back of an American style pick-up truck. And there's always the dilapidated shack with a sign boasting "High Speed Internet".
Every day we see things that make us smile. Like an elderly person dressed in the traditional Mongolian dress, trying to call someone on a cell phone. Contrasts like these provide a steady source of entertainment for us.
The contrasts are visible in the families, as well. Some people have become very independent of their extended families while others are still very much under the influence of the "akh" (older male relatives) or "egch" (older female relatives). These kind of relationships were hard for me to get used to as I grew up in Mexico, away from my older siblings and relatives. Sometimes I would even get angry at people here when they'd let their older so and so make decisions for them and run their life. Then I thought about how my outlook would have probably been different if I had grown up next to my siblings and aunts and uncles back in America. Then again, there's not as much influence from the extended families in the States as there is here but it probably would have helped me understand the ties between people and their older relatives here. At any rate, I deal with this sort of "akh/egch/duu (duu=younger relative) dependency", as I like to call it, a lot because many of the reasons behind a girl getting an abortion here are tied to some older relative telling them to. (Maybe it's not so different from the States after all.)
My favorite part about living in Mongolia would have to be the drive between Darkhan and Ulaan Baatar. It's a 2.5 hour ride through the countryside. I always see something that reminds me that I'm living a National Geographic adventure every day of my life. Like a herd of yaks, or a Mongolian cowboy, in traditional dress, rounding up a flock of sheep. Or some Bactrian (double humped) camels or Mongolian horses grazing along the road.
Unlike Julia Roberts or Richard Gere, who come cause a stir and then have to go home, I get to call this place home. My love for Mongolia kind of crept up on me. I didn't see it coming but I've truly come to love this place.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
My day started out pretty slow. The kids had had their breakfast by the time I got up, around 9 (thanks to Beegii, a girl who's staying with us). Hetee and I shared an omelet and then I got Nate started on his school work.
Later in the afternoon, Hetee dropped the kids and me off at my parents'. The plan was that I'd sew something but, I totally lacked inspiration. I ended up putting together a little apron for Abi. Hetee came to get us just as I was finishing up and he helped sew the ties on.
After the meeting, some of us headed over to the Chinese restaurant, "Asian Brand" to bid farewell to our dear friends, Daagii and Soko, who are moving to Erdenet with their 4 young children to take over our mission church there. We will miss them terribly, but it's good to know that they are only about 2 1/2 hours away.
Monday, December 10, 2007
...Your child's scarf is stiff with frozen snot.
...You pick up some shampoo at the market on your way home but all hopes of a quick shower are dashed when you realize that the contents of your shampoo bottle are, you guessed it, frozen solid.
...Your kids ask you if the ocean really exists.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
- God's miraculous provision for our family, over and over again
- Pumpkin pie, good food, and Mom
- Kenny saying "Coooooool"
- Cream of carrot soup, with a pinch of rosemary and a handful of homemade croûtons
- Sharing an overwhelmed pregnant friend's burdens
- Finding out that my friend, Mandkhai is coming for a visit in February! (she is Mongolian, married to an American ex Peace Corps guy, Jay. They have 2 beautiful kids whom I've seen only in photo. They live in Texas)
- The smell of gingerbread cookies, baking away
- The "Lord of the Beans"' Sporks
- Hearing Abi say, "You're extracting me" when she really means, "You're distracting me"
- Lighting the first candle of the Advent season
How about you? What's been making you smile?
Friday, November 23, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Here's a picture of the gloves I posted. Please go and check them out! You can't beat $15.00 (starting price) for real Mongolian cashmere gloves!
Link to gloves
So, please, bid away and make me rich!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
This morning she held up her little arms and said, "Mommy, I grew this much while I was sleeping. Can I please have a real school book now?" How could I resist?
Her "real school book" is a Preschool Press "My Very First See and Know Dictionary" that takes you through the alphabet and helps recognize and learn the letters, many of them which she already knows. She was so excited and couldn't wait to tell her daddy that she started school today! We did about 4 pages and then I had to convince her to take a break and help me make lunch.
She has a love of learning and is always asking smart questions. The other day we set up some sticky paper to catch some pesky mice. The next morning we discovered 2 mice, alive, on the piece of sticky paper under the sink. My first thought was to quietly get rid of them, but, what a perfect science opportunity! Abi got a chance to get up close and touch them and study them to her little hearts' content. (I really like that sticky paper; it's not poisonous or messy and, it's perfect for satisfying a 3 year-old's curiosity!) This lead to a conversation about why we had to get the mice out of the house. That then lead to questions about what mice eat, etc.
Abi learned a lot that day and the following day when she watched me dissect and clean a fish for lunch. We even got to see the fish eggs! She later told me that she loves all the animals God sends us.
She's growing into quite the young lady. Her hair has to be combed and fixed, lipgloss applied and scarf tied a certain way before she steps out the door. She loves her dresses and wants to be a ballerina when she grows up. She sings beautifully and is always making up silly rhymes. She can make me laugh then bring tears to my eyes from one minute to the next.
And to think that I was told by callous doctors to abort her because she was not "viable". Aren't you glad God has the last word?
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Me, shocked: No, we don't say curse words and we don't write them.
Nate: But Grandma writes them all the time.
Me: Do you mean cursive words?
The other day Nate and I were watching an Animal Planet special on the Black Mamba snake of South Africa. Kenny was nursing and didn't seem to be paying any attention. Then all of a sudden he looked up, pointed to the TV and said, "Mamba". Nate was impressed.
Abi: Mommy, what are these bumps on my tongue?
Me: Taste buds.
Abi: HAHAHAHAHA, taste bugs! No mommy, what are they really called?
Me: Not taste bugs, taste buds, Silly.
Abi, laughing even harder: Taste butts?!
This last picture is of our orphan girls. They live in a government-run orphanage that keeps them until they finish 8th grade. After that, they're pretty much on their own. We minister to them at the orphanage and keep an apartment where they can bathe and get a good meal on the weekends.
Three orphan girls have lived at the apartment after reaching the age limit, with a girl from my g12, Ogii Tseegii, who is sort of like their older sister. They finished their high school with the help of Ogii Tseegii, and now, all 3 attend universities, a dream come true for them. The girls who still live at the orphanage come to church when they are allowed.
Please pray for us to continue this work. We desperately need money to provide these girls with an education and a place to live when the time comes. Also pray for Ogii Tseegii and the orphanage ministry as it grows and expands.
- Kenny, repeating everything like a parrot.
- The thought of 5 days of peace and quiet and lovely afternoon treks through the snow-covered, Narnia-like pine forest.
- Abi volunteering to do dishes and doing a fine job.
- My new friends in Kansas.
- A first time mother calling me in a panic to ask if her knitting would cause her unborn baby's umbilical cord to become tangled.
- Making Nate eat his words when he said, "Girls can't play basketball."
- Sharing red beans with sausage and rice and cornbread with my Mongolian friends. (Thanks for the cornmeal, Twila!)
- The 3 hour nap I had this afternoon.
- Being a Titus 2 woman.
- A dash of cinnamon in my coffee.
Monday, November 05, 2007
The kids, my helper, Boloroo and I ate a whole loaf with hamburger stew for lunch today. It was fresh out of the oven, sliced with loads of butter...mmmmmm.
In other news, our little vacation has been postponed for a few days. Hetee had a few loose ends to tie up at church before we can leave. I'm holding my breath so that nothing else happens in the meantime to make us postpone even further. I actually cried, I was so disappointed. Today I keep thinking, I shouldn't even be here! Hopefully all will go well and we'll be able to go at the end of this week or beginning of the next.
Been saying that since March.
Now on to the baby part of my post.
To all my family members back in the States, who think I don't have a TV, no, I'm not pregnant.
Here's a picture of a young couple who, a few months ago were faced with an unplanned pregnancy and the pressure of family to abort . Thanks to our Little Hearts sponsors, we were able to help them make the right choice AND we provided groceries for the mother during the pregnancy.
Egshiglen's birth was easy and very fast. Ankhaa and Babaa would like to say thank you for giving to make a difference in their little family!
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Here are some pictures of the kids, taken yesterday. It was warm and sunny but there was still a little bit of snow on the ground from the last snowfall.
If you click and enlarge them you can see the snot coming out of Kenny's nose. Niiiiiice.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Abi, pointing to a little bag on the kitchen counter: Mommy, what's this?"
Me: Poppy seeds
Abi, in a playful voice: What are you going to do with "puppy seeds"?
Me: You're a funny girl. Not puppy seeds, I said poppy seeds!
Abi, giggling: Bobby seeds?!
For those of you who didn't already know, "Bobby" is Abi's beloved blankie.
She has such a great sense of humor for a 3 year-old. She's always cracking us up. =)
Sunday, October 28, 2007
These past few weeks have been full to the brim with preparations for our annual G12 discipleship conference that took place on from the 18-20th. It was a nervous time for me, as it was my first time to preach at the g12 conference. All of our church leaders were there, AND my dad came to watch me preach, too. I'm used to speaking in front of large crowds in Mongolian but this time I felt really nervous. But, in the end, I'm happy to say my sermon went well. My dad said I was the best preacher there. He may be just a little bit biased.
The day I preached was our 6th anniversary. I knew we'd be busy with the conference but I was secretly hoping we could do something special somehow. Anyway, when Hetee introduced me as I came up on stage he told everyone it was our anniversary and then asked me if he could kiss me in front of everyone (about 500 people). And of course, not wanting to hurt his feelings I agreed and got all red-faced and embarrassed, on top of being nervous about preaching.
That night, we finally got a chance to go out and enjoy a quiet meal at the "Texas Pub" (where else?) --at 11:30. We were exhausted, starving and craving each other's uninterrupted attention. Just as we were finishing up our steaks, some people from church walked in and busted us. =) We said our goodbyes and headed home, totally worn out.
In case you're wondering about my lack of photos from the conference, it's because we still don't have a digital camera. Ours broke around Christmas last year and we have yet to get a new one. This year, though, we've decided not to buy each other presents for Christmas (just get them for the kids) and instead invest in a new digital camera. How we've gone this long without one, I'll never know. It'll be nice to have one again!
After the conference was over, we took Kenny to UB to get checked out for a stubborn cough he's been having since July. To make a long story short, the pediatrician thinks he has allergy-related bronchitis (had a chest X-ray). It makes sense, especially since he was perfectly fine when we were living in the apartment with no grass or weeds nearby. She prescribed some meds, which I haven't had much luck getting him to take. Winter should take care of the weed allergen problem but we may have to think about moving come Spring. Yay.
While in UB, I got to spend an evening with my friend Amanda. She, Hetee and I had dinner at a nice, Western-style restaurant called "The Irish Pub". There was live entertainment and I had fish and chips, in total Irish fashion. Then I had cheesecake for dessert. Now THAT'S something to write home about!
Me and Amanda
We turned off the main highway and as we drove up all we could say was "Wow". It's located on the edge of the pine forest and the hotel itself looks like something you'd see in America--only in the middle of the Mongolian countryside! The interior was all made of wood and the rooms were really nice. They had saunas and a massage/spa room and everything! As it turns out, the "Secret History of Mongolia" camp, as it's called, is a favorite getaway for the rich and famous of Mongolia.
Some of you know that Hetee and I have been praying for a chance to take a vacation to Thailand for some much needed R and R. We've never had a vacation as a couple (or a family, for that matter) and have never spent more than one night away, just the 2 of us. Financially, Thailand turned out to be impossible. I was heartbroken until I saw this place. The beautiful view of the snow dusted pine trees almost made me forget about the beach! And the thought of a few days away from work (the cell phones don't work out there!) but still less than 2 hours away from the kids makes me really like this place. And there are no tsunamis.
The prices are a bit steep so we're still praying. God knows we need this so much! Thailand would have cost us about 2,500 USD whereas this place will cost about 500 USD for 3 nights, meals, saunas and massages (which I totally plan on getting) included. Not bad, eh?
Well, I gotta go eat something... Ministry updates coming soon!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
- My "package exchange" idea was a success and I developed a new friendship in the process.
- Kenny's triple sneezes. You have to see them to believe them. He never sneezes less than 3 times at once!
- Beignets and coffee
- Three women in my g12 are pregnant.
- Kenny saying "apple".
- Forbidden naps
- Reading Oliver Twist with Nate.
- Providing women with prenatal vitamins for free.
- Spending the day with my love at his office
- Teaching post encounter classes
Monday, October 08, 2007
I'm just so sad and mad at the possibility of someone poisoning him. Usually people hurt dogs just to be mean but we have to be careful because someone may have done it so they'd be able to break in next time we're not home. We have to get another dog or else our home will be vulnerable to a beak in but I just hate the thought of something like this possibly happening again. And I loved Major; he was a good dog.
We told the kids and Nate and I cried for about an hour. So sad.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Hetee and I talked to her about Jesus and about how the road she's been going down has lead her away from Him. We told her that she has to change her friends and lifestyle in order to give herself and baby the best future possible.
Right now she agrees with everything we say. But we've seen people go back on their word and stab us in the back so many times now, that to second guess has become second nature.
Please continue to pray that Tsatsral accept Jesus into her heart and MEAN IT. That she will be the mother Munkhush needs, no matter how difficult it gets, she won't give up on him.
Sometimes the thought of his life and future makes me cry. I wish it were his future tears I was crying. I know he will suffer and lack things. My husband assures me that God loves Munkhush more than we do and that He, as his heavenly Father, will care for him.
Why is the burden so heavy today? Jesus, help me to cast my cares on you.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I was going over my spices the other day and making my "wish list" all the time wondering who would I ask to send me the stuff. My friend Amanda just moved here so she's out. And Sara, who keeps me pretty well supplied, could probably use some help. Hehe.
So, I'm proposing a package exchange where you send me the items on my wish list and I send you a pair of beautiful Mongolian cashmere women's gloves. They are a soft lime green (pistachio?) and are one size fits all (keep in mind that Mongolian women's hands are generally a tad smaller than western hands. Sizes run small). The gloves are brand new and were originally bought and featured on our website to sell a while back.
The gloves are retailed at about 15.00 USD so whatever you send me must amount to 15.00 USD. not including shipping. It can be anything(s) on my list below and/or it can be a lot of one thing bought on sale for yourself or whatever. The more you can send for that amount the better! Just keep in mind that you'll be paying the postage as I will be for the gloves. Also the items must be like new, as in never opened. I was going to post them on Ebay but thought this was a better use for them. =) You could post and sell them yourself, though, if you want.
Let's have fun! And if this is successful we can do it again and again!
Now, for my wish list (no special order here; just pick and choose):
- Any kind of potato "wedges" seasoning packets or potatoes au gratin packets.
- Ranch dressing packets
- Coconut, shredded
- Chocolate chips, peanut butter chips
- Liquid chlorophyll
- Clear mascara
- Tea tree oil
- Anything else you think I might enjoy that's American! Can even be from your own private stash!
Once again, have fun and, thanks for helping out a missionary wife in a pinch!
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
- Mango puree on waffles
- Putting everyone to bed and enjoying a bowl of corn flakes in peace.
- New shoes for Kenny
- Seeing God provide. Again.
- Happy endings*
- Happy babies
- My Mongolian helper making tortillas and being better at it than me
- Seeing my husband's unfailing compassion and generosity toward others and seeing him being blessed for it.
- Seeing the look on people's face when I tell them I never went to "school"
- Looking at Munkhush snuggled with his mommy, sleeping on my living room floor right now!
* Tsatsral came today and we had a long talk. She has decided to keep Munkhush! We have set her up to stay in an apartment we rent for orphan girls. A young lady in my g12 runs this ministry and she lives in the apartment with her mom and, currently, one orphaned teenage girl. It couldn't have worked out better! We will help by watching Munkhush while his mommy works, for the time being. It turns out she was trained as a hairdresser but couldn't afford her equipment so never actually worked at a salon. She still needs to take one course (approx 40.00 USD) and buy her equipment (approx 100.00 USD) then she'll be ready to start. Please keep these things lifted up before the Lord; the expenses, the new plans, etc.
Thank you all again for praying!
What's been making you smile?
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Munkh Tur and he was born April 4th. That would make him 6 months old. His mother's name is Tsatsral and she is 20 years old. She came to the house today and we had a good talk. She told me she never intended to abandon the baby and I believe her. She had no place to go so she went to Ulaan Baatar to contact the father of the baby and try to make a life for herself with him. She planned on coming back for the baby once they settled but after a few days she realized it would not work out (he beat her). She heard through the grapevine that the baby was in the hospital and she was very worried. I could feel her grief as she sat there holding him and crying.
It turns out that when Tsatsral was pregnant for Munkhush, the same lady from our church that brought him to me yesterday, met her as she was on her way to an abortion clinic to have an abortion. She talked to her and told her that her baby was a gift from God and that she should not have an abortion. Of course, she ended up having him, Praise God!
Today, Tsatsral told me that she feels her best option is to give him up for adoption. I told her she needs to think about it carefully and make sure that is what she wants. I also told her she needs to get close to God and let Him help her. Hetee and I always talked about adopting and have come close a few times but not as close as this. We are willing to take him and adopt him but, at this point we feel that the mom needs as much help as he does. We'd love to see her on her feet and raising him herself.
Tsatsral has left the baby here with us and will leave tomorrow to go and meet with her parents (divorced, alcoholics) who live in another state and try to make a decision. Please pray for her as she goes through this very difficult time. She is not some deadbeat mother who abandoned this baby to fend for himself; she is a very hurt and disillusioned young woman with no where to turn.
Also please pray for us. We need God's wisdom to know how to help both Tsatsral and Munkhush. We also need the finances to move ahead. We know that God brought Munkhush into our lives and we will do all we can to see that he is taken care of. Today we bought diapers, formula (nursing him AND Kenny has taken a toll on my energy so I needed help in that area!) and clothes. I had recently given another Little Hearts baby a bunch of Kenny's hand-me-downs so we had to go shopping. =)
Thank again for praying!
Monday, October 01, 2007
I had to go to a meeting but I prayed that he'd be there by the time I returned. I called Hetee (he was out of town) and he agreed that the sooner this little guy was with us, the better. About 15 minutes into my meeting, my babysitter called and said that the lady from church had come and brought the baby. Yes! I told the babysitter to bathe him and put clean clothes on him.
I got home and had to fight the tears, my heart ached so much for him. Nate put my feelings into words when he said, "Mommy, his crying makes me want to cry, too." I tried to nurse him but it was obvious he had not nursed before. I had to really teach him how to latch on! He kept biting down and trying to chew or something. He finally caught on and nursed till his little heart's content. Then Hetee held him, prayed for and blessed him.
Nate said, "I hate his mommy and daddy for doing this for him. I hope they never come and get him". I had no words to say.
We don't know his name. We think he's about 5 months old. He has a terrible diaper rash and a few huge mosquito bites but other than that appears healthy. The doctors in the hospital diagnosed him with pneumonia. That's another one for the "stupid doctors" file.
He's all clean now (he was filthy and full of pee) and sleeping peacefully. He's very sweet and has a beautiful little face! Who could leave such a little creature all alone?
Please pray for him, for his future and for his life. He's already won his way into our hearts and we are talking about all the possible things that could happen if no one comes to claim him.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Her husband, a Buddhist, had been to the lamas to try and make sense of the situation. They told him on 2 separate occasions that someone else was destined to die in their apartment. This left the family with even more fear and desperation.
Hetee and I decided we need to go over there and pray "on location". We got a few of our leaders and as we were heading out the door, her husband called her on her cell phone. He was drunk and crying, telling her to hurry up and come home because he was scared to death to be there alone.
We walked up the 4 flights of stairs, not knowing what to expect. We were greeted by a very warm and nicely decorated home but I could feel in my spirit that I wasn't welcomed there.
First, we sang the chorus of "Awesome God" a few times, then we began to pray in tongues. The husband called out angrily from the other room where he was slumped over on his knees in front of his pictures of Buddha and his now deceased mother-in-law. Hetee and the men who were with us went in to greet him and he stood right up and grabbed Hetee by the collar! Three of our guys held him down but he was trying hard to punch Hetee in the face. I directed the wife to stay in the hall with the 4-month-old baby. My heart was pounding! I never liked dealing with drunks and, as a rule, I avoid them as much as possible.
This guy was really getting out of control! He picked up the framed picture of his mother-in-law and smashed it onto his forehead then he lunged after Hetee again. Then, suddenly, he let go of Hetee, turned to the Buddha picture and picked it up and threw it to the wall. I didn't see him let go of Hetee so, when I heard the glass I thought it was Hetee going through a window or something.
When I turned and saw Hetee still standing, I was relieved, to say the least. The drunk guy calmed right down, I mean, he went from drunk to sober, just like that! He looked at Hetee square in the eyes and said, "Thank you for coming. I'm not afraid anymore!" He then told us that while we were praying in the other room, he "saw" his mother-in-law and she told him not to be afraid. I don't know about that, but all of us were starting to feel a lot more peaceful. It was really crazy because he didn't know that we had come to pray. In fact, when we got there he was too drunk to even hold his head up. But, somehow he knew that we represent the peace her felt in his heart.
Hetee explained that they should not allow anything pertaining to false religions in their home because Satan was using those things as a foothold. We prayed for the wife and 2 kids and gave them some scriptures to read then said our goodbyes. The wife looked totally relieved and said that she felt so much peace.
Praise the Lord!
On the way home I asked Hetee if he was scared and he said, "No, because I know Satan can't touch me."
This morning we started 2 encounter retreats, one men's and one women's (about 100 people in all), and I could definitely feel the spiritual tension going on all around all day long. We really kicked butt today and are well aware that we'll see reciprocation as the enemy tries to gain back the ground lost today. We are pressing on with much prayer and ask that you keep our family and church members in your prayers as well.
Thank you again for partnering with us through faithful prayers and financial support. More testimonies to come!
Friday, September 28, 2007
This afternoon Nate and I took a bike ride across town to my parents' house. He rode on the back of my bike and we had about a 30 minute ride one way. I hadn't ridden that much since I was 16! It was definitely an "eventure" as he calls it. During our adventure I had ample opportunity to teach him firsthand the virtues of sticking with something and not giving up even when it's difficult and you want to quit (in our case this would mean admitting defeat and calling daddy to come get us).
In other news, yesterday we got Miss Abi's ears pierced. And get this, the dentist who did Nate's teeth also does ear piercings so we got it done there. A one stop, root canal, ear piercing, packaged deal. Hm. Well, I'm impressed.
We'd had the earrings for a while (my mom brought the gold piercing earrings from the States) and Abi really had been wanting to do it. I tried to hold off but it was all she talked about! I told her it would hurt a bit but she still wanted to do it so we all pile into the car and head over to the dentist's office. After she was done with Nate, she called Abi in and got to work.
I wish I could say it went smoothly but it was a disaster, albeit a hilarious one. Abi freaked, shreaked and dove into my lap. Nate came bounding in and nervously tried to comfort her. The people in the waiting room were starting to look scared. I was trying to comfort her while trying to decide whether to proceed with the plan or abort! Hetee gave me the go-ahead and I told the dentist I'd hold Abi so she could do the other ear. I told Nate that Abi might like him to hold her hand, like I held his when the dentist was drilling, etc. He obliged and Abi gratefully accepted.
The dentist and I were both drenched in sweat, nevertheless we continued on to the second ear. Abi SCREAMED and Nate, out of shear instinct lunged forward to hold her but in doing so, hit the hand of the dentist who was holding the back of the earring. It flies across the room and she gets down to look for it. Both kids are screaming, scaring the living daylights out of the waiting room people. Hetee steps in and, thankfully, finds the back. We snap it on and get up to pay. Kids are still sobbing. The dentist shoes us out and says, "You can pay later! Just go!"
Reading over what I just wrote it sounds like I was really brutal to my kids. But, Abi LOVES her earrings and says she's not mad at me at all. She IS pretty dramatic.
I did learn something through all this. I learned that if you want your little girl to wear dainty little earrings you should have her ears pierced as a newborn OR let her grow up first and just ignore the pleading and whining that will definitely ensue until then. =)
I also made some green tomato bread. I had tons of tiny green tomatoes from the greenhouse that didn't turn red and I was wondering how in the world I would use them up before they rotted. This bread was really good and tasted just like zucchini bread. If anyone's interested I can post the recipe. Let me know!
Off to bed now...gotta get up early..meetings and classes and more meetings. Got a full day ahead!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The week before last, Nate started complaining of a toothache. We had taken him to the dentist about 6 months ago to look at that same molar as it was getting a spot on it. The dentist applied some liquid to it and told us it should stop the cavity from progressing. Well, here we are, 6 months later and it's hurting. Bad. So last Friday, after several attempts we finally get to the dentist and she informed us that he will need to have it filled but before that, the INFECTION IN HIS GUM has to be treated! Oh, and he has another cavity on the other side!
The dentist drilled and did a root canal on the first molar without and kind of painkiller or tranquilizer!!!!!!! (Oh, my poor baby!) He was so brave and barely even flinched although he admitted later that it hurt. The second root canal was done today and he had a couple times where he was in pain and said he would not open his mouth anymore. I told him to think about how he helped me get through Kenny's birth by holding my hand, etc. I told him I'd hold his hand and help him get his mind off the pain, too. He opened his mouth again and handled the rest like a pro. We have 2 more days of treatment/cleanings (the dentist wants to make sure that all the pain/infection is gone) then he will get the fillings. I've never had a root canal and I really feel for him.
At the beginning of the whole ordeal I told him with tears in my eyes that I wished I could take his pain and have the root canals for him. A couple days later Nate was at the kitchen table holding his cheek while I was taking my vitamins (I have a bad cold). He said, "Mommy, I wish I could take your cold and have it instead of you."
How could I let this happen? I breastfed him until he was 2 and a half! I taught him how to care for his teeth from an early age! I never give him juice or sodas and we drink water or milk at home! He eats very little sweets and has a good diet overall so I just don't see how this could have happened. I feel terrible and I'm crying my eyes out and I know you're just gonna say, It's ok, it could have happened to anyone." but we all know that doesn't help.
Anyway, thank God for His mercy. The gum infection was gone within 24 hours of praying and treating with tea tree oil. I also juiced some carrots for him to drink as vitamin A helps fight infection.
He's been a real trooper and, at 5 year of age, is more man than most of the men reading this right now.
Please keep Nate in your prayers these next few days, as we finish up at the dentist. It's been a trying time for him and he needs healing and rest.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
- my birthday
- zucchini bread
- girl time with mom
- seeing Nate being so brave at the dentist's office
- seeing Mongolian women become more health conscious.
- hearing my kids say "thank you" and "I'm sorry" to one another unprompted
- homemade bread
- helping the poor
- helping new mommies breastfeed
- dinner out with my hubby
- an encouraging email from a new friend
- a care package from my dear friend, Sara
Monday, September 03, 2007
This lead to a conversation about how Nate shows Abi he loves her. He said he shows his love for her by hugging her, protecting her and letting her ride on his back.
Friday, August 31, 2007
It goes like this: After the vows, an old cracked bowl filled with bitter, black tea is brought to the couple and they each take a sip in turn. The tea represents the suffering they will encounter as they live their lives together as a married couple. They repeat after the minister and promise that they will share in one another's suffering and therefore it will decrease.
Then a beautiful, real silver bowl filled with milk is brought out and also shared by the couple. It represents the happiness they will encounter as a couple. Again, they repeat the words of the minister and assure each other that any happiness they share will increase.
I've seen the tea ritual performed many times before but, today it really got me to thinking about how it has been true in my life. For example, yesterday I wrote a post complaining about my day and within a few hours I received encouraging notes from friends to let me know I was not alone. I felt better immediately. My "suffering" (I use quotation marks because I know the suffering I referred to in my post is nothing compared to the suffering some are facing) decreased.
What about sharing happiness? It is so true that if you share in someone's happiness it increases! Hetee and I have seen this many times throughout our marriage. We stand, always ready to share in one another's happy moments, no matter how small they may seem.
One thing about sharing happiness that comes to mind is the way Hetee is overjoyed when I eat something Mexican. He knows how much I love and miss the food so he goes out of his way to understand and feel my joy. And he doesn't make gagging noises, no matter how weird it is.
Like today, a friend brought me 2 fresh corn on the cob, grown somewhere locally. All she could get at the time was 2 so Hetee refused to have any. Instead he watched me as I slathered them in butter and chile and enjoyed them all by myself.
Then today, after the wedding, we were in the grocery store getting some snacks for the 2-hour drive home when he spotted Swiss Miss hot chocolate. He knows how much I like it so it made him really happy to be able to buy it for me. And imagine my joy when we found the green jasmine tea he had been looking all over for but couldn't find anywhere. And I can't stand the stuff.
As I sat at the dinner table tonight, next to my empty corn cobs, picking my teeth and contemplating the many other ways we have shared each others happiness and sufferings, I thought about how all the experiences we have shared in the past almost 6 years have served to bring us closer together. Childbirth, my niece's kidnapping and murder, grandparents' deaths, his brother's divorce, business failures, business successes, church and ministry successes, ah, way too many to mention.
Looking back over the years, I can clearly see how sharing the joys and the sorrows made all the difference in our marriage. Two people can be as different as night and day but when they decide to share their partner's happiness and suffering, their lives unite in perfect harmony.
Today, as I watched the young couple go through the tea ritual, I prayed a prayer that they would come to experience the joy of sharing happiness and sorrow.