Monday, September 29, 2008

Severe Mercies

This is Adam writing on Ellen's blog as I watch over her sleep in a labor and delivery room. We have been at the hospital since Saturday night after her contractions came back. She has been flirting with labor ever since a recent GI bug we contracted. Graham will be 35 weeks tomorrow...a respectably safe age to deliver but not without potential difficulties. Needless to say our prayer is that her contractions would remit.
It is so hard not to be gripped with fear in situations like trust that even in the midst of hardship or suffering our kind Father in Heaven is at work, to know that He even bends suffering in such a way that it ultimately reveals His goodness and mercy. Indeed, it has been in the times that are uncertain and painful that the message of the Gospel has been the most clear to me. In my tearful prayers these 2 days has come a "severe mercy" as C.S. Lewis put it. I think I reflected on this in an earlier blogpost (see Ellen's stroke post). It is severe to know that our son may enter the world with great hardship and danger to his life, but it is merciful that God uses this to make us love Him more. If you have ever suffered over one you love and you faithfully walk with Christ then you know the surprising peace I am talking about. You are familiar with grief turning into laughter through your tears. You know what it is to feel the certainty of God's love more poignantly, to your very core, even as you shudder with pain. You know what it is to have your hands raise spontaneously as you envision holding up your child or your spouse to God, crying out that you trust Him with their precious little life. Like Abraham we walk with our children to their place of trial awaiting God's provision, knowing that He can raise them to life. Our Father, the one who spared not His own Son for our sake, help us to give to you "our's" in return. May our children be "known by You" our God and take the good news of Christ into the world.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Delicious Day

Adam and i both had the day off tuesday and we just finished another stretch of passing each other like ships in the night for several days, so we had a wonderful time catching up and enjoying the beautiful weather! we started the day with a breakfast picnic at the canal of bagels, grapes, kefir, and a fabulous view. marit was soooo good and even sat on the blanket with us. after breakfast, we let her venture close to the river and then her behavior started to break down as she really wanted to go swimming ( a little cold for that dear). we met another sweet baby jogging with her daddy named piper. after our canal adventure, we went grocery shopping. i don't know about you, but i love to grocery shop as a family. i think it's so fun! while marit napped upon our return home, adam and i made this recipe for lunch. we don't eat much beef and i've never cooked flank steak, but oh my goodness, it was amazing. the flavor of arugula and steak is a great combination.

Steak with Arugula and Balsamic Mushrooms

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound flank steak
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 bunches arugula, thick stems removed (about 6 cups)
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the steak with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook to the desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Remove from heat and stir in the cream.

Divide the arugula, steak, and mushrooms among plates and sprinkle with the scallions.

Substitution: You can use almost any variety of mushroom in this recipe. Try smoky shiitakes (discard the woody stems), mild oysters, or a couple of juicy portobellos.

Yield: Makes 4 servings


over lunch we had a great theological discussion stemming from different things we are both learning from books he's reading, Bible study i'm doing, different sermons we've both heard. i will post soon with some of the thoughts we've been having about suffering's place in the life of the Christian. it has been a super busy month, but God has been gracious to allow adam and i to have rich conversation in our small bits of time together. after lunch, we hung an outdoor swing for marit and continued to just "hang out." we finished the day with our neighborhood Bible study, which is always a delight and went home and did the bedtime routine. truly, it was a delicious day!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I guess I should build a nest?

So Marit and I were walking in our neighborhood the other day (a fairly normal occurrence), which is urban and diverse. This man started yelling from across the street and I figured he was greeting a homie or something (also a normal occurrence), but he didn't stop yelling. Finally I turned to look at him and he said "When are you going to drop it?" confused, I said "what?" Annoyed, he said "when are you going to have your next baby." I mumbled a reply and waddled on thinking about "dropping it" and how it looks like I'm about to lay an egg. Thank you, neighbor, for that image.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another Reason I'm Thankful

Besides the fact that I am unfathomably and infinitely loved by the God of the universe, I have an additional reason to be thankful this week.

I went to the OB yesterday as I am 33.5 weeks pregnant with David Graham, who is developing and growing well. For the last several days I have had this tender area on my calf. It is not unlikely that I whacked myself on something and just don't remember, but no bruise ever formed and all that could be palpated in the area was little knot. As a nurse who is married to a very cautious medical student, we immediately thought I had a DVT (for the non-medical, that is a blood clot in one of the deep veins) that would require blood thinning therapy and make the rest of my pregnancy a little more complicated. Well, I had an ultrasound of all the veins in my leg and there was no clot, but I was reminded of an earlier event in my life that explains why we and my OB freaked out a little bit. You see, I've had a clot before....

Adam and I were married in May of 2004. I was on hormonal birth control pills before marriage for some cycle regulation issues and remained on it into marriage for contraception. Three months after our wedding, we were on our way to another wedding in south Georgia and stopped for an overnight at my mom and dad's house. After a morning run and a shower, I was drying my hair and bent over to get underneath it. Suddenly I felt dizzy and weak. Adam was nearby and I made it to the bed, but the weakness got worse, my vision became blurry, I could not articulate words. Eventually I was unable to even sit up on my own. Of course, we hurried to the emergency room and Adam had to carry me in because I could not walk. My memories are a bit vague and spotty, but I remember having some sort of head scan (I think both a CT and an MRI), while Adam sat outside the scanner and wept. You see, my mom had recently had a brain tumor removed, so our family was still recovering from the trauma of that experience. As it turned out, I had a stroke. Yep, a 21 year old, completely healthy in every other way, avid runner, healthy eater had a stroke. I was admitted to the hospital for a couple days and within 24 hrs I had regained nearly all my strength and coordination (then my stroke became classified as a mini-stroke or a TIA).

I had a trans-esophageal echocardiogram done to look at my heart because surely there must've been a cause. There it was: a hole between the atria of my heart that everyone is born with and closes shortly after birth. Mine never closed. So I was diagnosed with a patent foramen ovale (which I found out later about 20% of the population has, but just doesn't know) and it was this little hole combined the the increased clotting potential that birth control causes that caused the stroke. A few months later I had my heart repaired at Emory University so that I would not be likely to have another stroke, especially during pregnancy (which is basically the same hormonal state as a body on birth control).

We learned a lot from the experience about how delicate our "everything's fine" life really is. Adam remembers making a commitment to God to love and care for me even if I never recovered from the stroke. God was gracious to us. I struggled with depression for a few months afterwards from the trauma of it all and because we were in a new town where we knew few people, but God was gracious to bring me through that too. I came away from the experience with a new respect for the hormonal state of our body. Of course, I'm never allowed to take birth control again, but I wonder if people realize how serious the side effects can really be. Also, we almost allowed our insurance to lapse from job to job, but decided to take out a private plan for just a few months. Our bills were significant with the insurance, but without it we never would have recovered.

That's my story from the past for today and I'm thankful for God's grace even this week in keeping my legs clot-free!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

check it out!

our life has been a whirlwind lately. adam is on a rough rotation right now and we have just been trucking along without much time for blogging. BUT, i must tell you about a recent gift given to us to celebrate the fact that we will soon have two children (basically both babies). from our whole extended family, we received this awesome stroller for jogging, walking, biking, and cross-country skiing (we don't do this, but it sure sounds cool). marit loves it already and likes daddy to push her around the house. it is very large and kind of like pushing a minivan, but what a dream to jog with (that's what adam says anyway as graham and i don't do that right now)! we are thankful!!