Friday, May 17, 2013
Posted by Ellen at 9:18 AM
Monday, May 13, 2013
I really felt like the work I was doing at the CPC was worthwhile, but it was hard on me emotionally. Some nights, I would come home drained and troubled. I prayed for each one of the women that I saw, and there were times that I would cry for them and their babies.
And I saw such a wide variety of women. There were so many different stories and so many difficult situations.
One thing that I learned through seeing so many different young women was that there was a lot of pressure on them from their families and friends. I think that many of the women I saw did not want to abort their babies, but they faced tremendous pressure to do so. Their boyfriends threatened to leave, or their parents threatened to kick them out if they didn't abort.
I learned early on that the mothers of teenage girls are often not the allies of their unborn grandchildren. When these women got involved, the result was often abortion. From what I could tell, they didn't like the idea that they would have a large role in helping their daughters to parent, and because they didn't want the responsibility, they would threaten and push abortion. I saw this a lot, and it made me really sad.
I met one woman who had had too much to drink on a trip overseas. She wasn't even sure that she'd consented to have sex with the man she'd met at party. She was pregnant, and she was mortified. She was a young professional, and she was afraid of what everyone she knew would think of her getting pregnant this way. I saw her once, but she didn't come back for her scheduled ultrasound.
I counseled a young, newly married couple. They had gotten pregnant unexpectedly, and they were very worried that the baby wouldn't be healthy because the wife that been very tired around the time the baby was conceived. They told me they were considering having an abortion because of their worries that the baby wouldn't be healthy. I was able to explain that pregnancy makes you very tired, and that tiredness didn't mean that there was anything wrong with the baby. I scheduled an ultrasound for them, and I heard that they decided to keep the baby.
Right before we moved, a teenage girl came into the clinic visibly pregnant. She signed in and asked for a pregnancy test, and I was a little stunned. Of course, it was positive. She had very irregular periods, so she hadn't thought much of it. She was at least 6 months along based on her last period. She wanted to have an abortion, and I told her that she was probably too far along to have one in that state. I showed her pictures of fetal development, told her all the amazing ways her baby had developed, and scheduled her for an ultrasound.
I guess you can see why I felt so burdened for all these clients. :) I'm glad I got to help then, and I feel like I'd probably be a more informed counselor now that I've had 3 pregnancies, but finding the time is difficult. But one of these days, I hope to return to this.
For now, I'll pray, and we'll give to help fund our local CPCs. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.
Posted by Ellen at 9:41 PM
Friday, May 10, 2013
The other day, I decided to see if I could make good homemade sub rolls. So I found a recipe, put the ingredients in the bread maker after breakfast, and had a finished product around lunchtime. When I told David this, he said, and I quote: "Clearly its time to have another baby. You've got way too much time on your hands." Hah!
I was actually having a really good day with Ben. He hadn't climbed up on the table 12 times before 10 a.m. or spilled anything all over himself, so I was firing on all cylinders.
Though he does have a point about the gratuitous bread baking. I do sense a trend. It seems like around the time I have an older toddler, the urge to bake bread comes on me strongly. It's something I like to do, but since I don't mind buying bread from the store, it's something very optional.
I do have plenty I could be doing. But lately, I'm sometimes choosing to ignore that to do what I want to do. Call it spring fever. Figure out who to call to get bids on painting the house? Nah, not gonna. I HATE having anyone work on my house. Finishing up putting together the kindergarten wonder book? Nope. I'd rather read a book about books.
I just finished "Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader" by Anne Fadiman. So instead of sweeping the floor and doing the lunch dishes, I typed up this quote by Holbrook Jackson for our schoolroom wall: "In reading aloud, you are greatly privileged, first to consort with all that is noble and beautiful in thought and imagination, and then to give it forth again. You adventure among masterpieces and spread the news of your discoveries. No news is better worth the spreading; few things are better worth sharing." I think I made the right decision.
We spent a lot of time outside this morning. The boys decided they wanted to plant a chewing gum tree in the backyard (per "My Father's Dragon.") We took some sick supplies to a friend on bedrest a couple of miles down the road, and then it was back to playing again. When Evan accidentally pulled out one of my daffodil bulbs, Seth got a better lesson in shoots and roots than he'd ever get from the gardening books we've been reading. Lunchtime saw us gorging ourselves on jack cheese and "Stuart Little."
When Ben took his usual opportunity to climb on the table while my back was turned and dumped my water on himself, I put him in crib timeout after stripping him to his diaper. And during that 5 minutes, the large mirror on the mantel fell to the floor and shattered into a thousand pieces.
He'd been playing near the fireplace a lot this morning. There was no warning. No slamming doors, nothing. I almost never put him in timeout. If he'd been there instead of upstairs, we'd be at the hospital right now.
So when I took him out of his crib, he got more than one extra hug and a whispered prayer over his handsome and infuriating little head. Oh, my beautiful boy, I want you with me, driving me crazy all day long, for many, many years to come. Yes, oh yes, I do...
Posted by Ellen at 1:59 PM
Monday, May 06, 2013
.... I got my boys back today. My parents wanted them for the weekend, so we took the chance to celebrate our 12th anniversary early. That celebration included "Iron Man 3", finding a beautiful hike on a local river, and yes, some cleaning and yard work.
And then I went to get them this morning. After they were all buckled in their carseats, I paused for a second to look at them in the minivan before I climbed in. I had the unbidden thought, "I have my life back now." Because as much as I love the time alone with the hubster to talk and dream and handle stuff, they are our life. This is what we're called to be doing. They are the life I've been given, and I'm grateful for them.
Beef stew is bubbling away on the stove, and I hear them out in the cul de sac with Daddy. Evan wanted to tell him that he got to watch "Cars" at Nana and Papa's, and he wasn't even scared this time at the car crash part. They both sang me a song that Nana taught them when she had "tea time" with them. :) The sun is finally out after many days of clouds. I have caught up on cuddles and snuggles post naptime in Ben's room where they all played at my feet as I sat in the rocking chair.
God has been good. So I'm taking a moment to say so...
Posted by Ellen at 5:59 PM
Saturday, May 04, 2013
The kids are with Mom and Dad for the weekend, and I took a nap when I got back. So I was lying in bed tonight wide awake and thinking, and I thought I'd share my thoughts... :)
Everybody has things they get excited about, but a lot of the things I love may not trip your trigger. There are also plenty of things that I just don't care much about that others find quite compelling. Epidural vs. natural birth? Don't care. Organic food? Nope. Cloth diapers vs. disposable? Nada. You may feel strongly, and that's just fine, but I'm probably not going to get excited with you one way or the other. :)
There are so many great and wonderful things that God can call us to give a lot of time and energy to doing. For me, that's homeschooling. I'm passionate about it, and I enjoy spending my days on this. Another family might get really passionate about adoption, for example. I think its great that people adopt, and I read adoption blogs, but I don't feel called to adopt. I'm doing something different that God has called me to do, and those that adopt are doing the same. If we all got excited about exactly the same things, the world wouldn't be very interesting, and I like variety. :)
But its not like I have only one thing that floats my boat. :) Homeschooling takes so much from me right now that I don't have much time to indulge other passions, but a major one for me is caring for the unborn. One of these days, I hope to get more involved with that.
Once upon a time, over 10 years ago now, I was a volunteer counselor at a crisis pregnancy center. Because it was so long ago, and because I am not disclosing the city or any names and detailed descriptions, I feel like its safe to talk about this now.
I wanted to work with a CPC from the time I was in high school. I helped some other teen girls clean the one in the town close to us as a way to help out, but teens weren't allowed to counsel. So when I got the chance to take the volunteer training the first year that I was married, I jumped at that. I counseled at night after work once a week until we moved a year later.
I loved working at this center. It was a converted house in a downtown area, and everything had been done to make it as inviting as possible. The counseling rooms were decorated in soothing colors, and there were soft chairs and sofas. There were lots of lamps giving it a warm glow in the evenings.
When a woman came in, we would give her a pregnancy test to take on her own. Then she would come into the counseling room to talk while we waited for her test results. We had a standard form to fill out, and I'd ask the typical questions like name and birthdate, etc. We asked what she would want to do if the test was positive- parent, place for adoption, or abort. I thought this was really helpful because it helped her to think about her state of mind before she knew the test results.
If the test was positive, I would take out a wheel that would tell me her due date based on her last period. I would ask her about her concerns, about who was a support to her during this time, and ask about what she might need.
I always asked to pray with each woman, and I never had a single one refuse that. Each time I prayed, I would mention that God knew her, that He created her and loved her, and that He had a plan for her. I prayed for peace for her and for wisdom for her.
If a woman was leaning toward abortion, we would offer an ultrasound. The ultrasounds were done at the clinic by volunteer doctors and ultrasonographers. They would come in one night a week usually, and I would try to come back and be there if I had a client who was signed up for one. The doctor was male, and there would be another woman in there with him when he was doing an ultrasound.
I can't speak for all CPCs, but at this one, the goal was always to show gentle love to every mother and unborn child. Nobody pushed the mother to make a decision not to abort. If they asked about abortion, we told them that we didn't provide or refer for abortions, but that was about it. We asked questions and provided information about what was happening in her womb, spoke about the child as a "baby," and showed her pictures of fetal development. Anyone leaning toward abortion was told that they were always welcome at the CPC, no matter what decision that they made. I know that there was a post abortive counseling class available.
The whole goal was informed consent, and the prayer was that a woman would see the life in her as a life just like hers. Ultrasounds were crucial to this, and I saw firsthand how in awe some women were to see their baby's tiny heartbeat on the monitor.
Posted by Ellen at 1:40 AM
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Posted by Ellen at 2:49 PM
Monday, April 22, 2013
Posted by Ellen at 2:21 PM
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Ok, so I've been meaning to post about these things called water beads. They are so super fun and so super cheap. I printed a hypothesis sheet from online, and we made guesses about what would happen when we added water. They start out really tiny, and as they absorb the water, they get bigger and bigger. (If you're getting colored ones, rinse them several times before you put them in a container with water or the color will stain little fingers, FYI.) You can get them in the floral section at Walmart for a few dollars. They're an absorbent polymer, probably made out of sodium polyacrylate or a cousin of it, the same stuff that is in baby diapers....
It's April, and I'm so ready for the end of the school year. David (who remembers things sooo much better than I do) said that some of the speakers at last year's homeschool conference said that homeschool moms start getting burned out in April and May.
I'm almost finished with the first Five in A Row manual (as in, we've rowed most of the books in it), and I think I'll intersperse my own short unit studies and days of reading books that we've gotten from the library about different topics with the remaining "rows" until the end of May. Summer vacation won't be a complete break from school. We'll still be doing math, handwriting, and reading lessons a few days a week, and we'll be reading and playing games and doing activities like we always do. I just won't be doing much planning and prepping unless I feel like it. I strongly suspect I won't feel like it.
I started getting drowsy doing Seth's reading lesson with him tonight. That happens too much lately. We do it upstairs on our bed, and its just so nice to put my feet up. Fortunately, his enthusiasm doesn't let me drowse much. He's enjoying it a good bit more than he did in the beginning when reading wasn't coming easily. And if I liked "All About Reading, Level 1" before, I LOVE it now. Totally worth the investment....
I got an email asking if I would be interested in helping with VBS at our church this year. There was a time when I would've been. We did a lot of teaching kids before we had them, and we still work in nursery once a month.
I feel guilty for not wanting to help, but I try to remember a blog post that I read at the beginning of this year that reminded me that teaching my children at home is adding a full time job onto the one I already have. If I am really tired and feel like I can't add much to my plate without cracking, I can remind myself that may be because I've already taken on an extra job, so I shouldn't be surprised if it's taking everything I've got many days.
And that means I can be ok with saying "no" to teaching VBS. Even if it makes me feel guilty. Maybe the guilt will never go away, or maybe I'll have some energy to help as the kids get older and more independent, and I can say "yes" sometimes. But right now? I'm all outta energy.
And in other news, lemme say that the trampoline we got for Seth's birthday is the best birthday present we've ever gotten any of them (ok, except maybe for his bike). The boys have spent a lot of time outside since we set it up. It's made the backyard so much more appealing that it was before, and I LOVE that. Next up? A cool tire-like swing for the rope swing on our tree... Evan's birthday is in May. =)
Posted by Ellen at 8:18 PM
Saturday, April 06, 2013
Posted by Ellen at 10:59 AM
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Posted by Ellen at 4:04 PM