To read the story of our precious Harlynn Renae, start here and follow the "next" links at the end of each post. Thank you for coming and sharing with us in this journey.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good Samaritan Gone Sour?

We've all heard the Bible story of the Good Samaritan. The person who was least expected to help a neighbor in need, went above and beyond in restoring an individual to health and wellness. It's a gripping parable told by Jesus about living and giving mercy and compassion.

I'll never forget one night I went to WalMart in Wyoming....I was walking from my car to the store entrance when I heard a "Ma'am?" from behind me. I kept walking because of course, I was too young to be a ma'am. I heard it again, "Ma'am?" so I turned around. Some poor soul had mistaken me for a ma'am instead of a "pretty young lady". "Me?" I asked.

"Yes. We've run out of gas. We need to get to Powell. Is there any way you could spare some cash?" He was tall, burly, and unkempt. He had bushy, curly hair and a thick wiry beard, both cinnamon colored. His denim shirt was half untucked and he stood offset to one side, like it was painful for him to stand fully erect. His eyebrows were furrowed and I could tell from the vehicle he pointed to, that he had lived a hard life, and made some hard choices along the way. I eyed him from where I stood to see if I could pick up on any glimmer of genuineness.

I had a $10 bill and a $5 bill in my purse. I stared. So many thoughts ran through my mind before I asked, "How long are you planning on staying out here?" I was stalling. I was trying to decide what course of action to take. He shrugged and replied, "Until I can fill my vehicle."

I turned to go inside, but didn't take a step. I let out a heavy sigh. I was so completely torn. Is he being serious? Is he trying to take advantage of me? I reached in to my purse and grabbed the $5 bill. I turned and reached my hand out, but stood planted where I was.

"If I give you this money," I started, "Will you use it to buy drugs?"
"No ma'am."
"Will you use it to buy booze?"
"No ma'am."
"You promise?"
"Yes ma'am."

A female poked her head through the window of the rusty suburban and she explained, "No Ma'am, we don't do those things. He has a new job he starts in Powell tomorrow - we just need the gas to get there."

Everything inside of me said not to. Who runs out of gas parked in a parking lot? The busiest parking lot in town no less? I handed him the money and said, "Remember. You said you'd buy gas."

I turned and walked inside WalMart while a few "Thank you"s were uttered behind me. There was a manager there by the door and I said, "I'm not sure how you handle this, but there's a gentleman peddling for cash in your parking lot." He smiled and said, "Thank you, I'll take care of it." I have no idea what he meant by that, nor do I really understand why I told him....I was so caught off guard by the whole event. I went and retrieved the two items I needed and returned to my car. I was in WalMart for less than 10 minutes. When I got to my car I noticed the suburban was gone. I looked to my right where the nearest gas station was, and saw no suburban.

I got situated in my car, fastened my seatbelt and turned left out of the parking lot to head home. A short distance from WalMart, on the right hand side of the road, was a liquor store called Whisky River. I happened to glance as I drove by, and there in the parking lot was the rusted suburban. I was overcome with "OH NO YOU DID NOT" emotion. Next door to the liquor store was a Radio Shack, and I immediately turned in the parking lot and flipped around. I pulled up next to that Suburban and parked. Oh yes - I had caught them red-handed.

I remember as soon as she saw me, her eyes got huge and I saw her sit up a little straighter as I rolled down the window. I can't imagine what was going through her mind, but I would have given another $5 to find out.

"What are you doing here?" I snapped.
"He just went in....he's...."
I interrupted. "You told me you wouldn't buy booze. You TOLD me you wouldn't! Do you care that you lied to me? Took advantage of me?"
"Well we got gas! We did, but then we had some money left."
"You bought gas and had change in a ten minute period and from a five dollar bill?!"
She stared and didn't answer. I looked inside the store and debated whether or not to go inside and confront the gentleman. I decided against it, however. All I wanted to do was yell at this couple and let them have it. I shook my head, closed my eyes, and turned back to face the woman. "All that I can do for you now is pray." I said. (Mind you - I did not think those words on my own. I only spoke them, and only because the Spirit persuaded my lips to speak them. It was not what I had intended to say, nor the impression I had planned to leave.)

Her shoulders sank, her eyes lowered, then she looked at me and said, "Thank you?" I rolled up the window, shot the car in reverse, and headed home. I was HOT. Whoooo I was hot. I was actually surprised in my anger I didn't go inside and grab the bottle out of the guy's hand. It's the redhead in me - I get mad, and I get my point across. I had been completely taken advantage of, and I contributed to and enabled an addiction. A bad habit. A false witness. I called my parents. I called my sister. (and to this day she can't believe I whipped my car around and confronted these people.) I vented to my husband. These liars! These creeps! Who did they think they were?!

Were they in need? Not of my money, and not of the alcohol they purchased with it. Should I have helped them? Differently. Yes, I should have. But differently. I sometimes still think about that night. I wonder what happened to them, where they ended up, and if they ever turned themselves around. I replay hearing that "Ma'am?" and thinking - if only I had driven to the gas station and given them gas instead of cash. How would I have felt if I had never seen their vehicle in the liquor store parking lot, and never known how they had used the money?

Were they in need? Absolutely. I look back on that night and think about the role mercy and compassion had. Initially I would say there wasn't any. However, the reason I was so upset was because I genuinely wanted to help. I wanted to believe these people were in trouble and that my measly five dollar donation would be enough to get them gas and nothing more...nothing controversial. I wanted these people to be honest, and to be blessed. I was more upset that they acted so deceitfully, not so much that I had been suckered.

What would the Good Samaritan have done? Part of me would love to think he would have turned his donkey right around to confront the rusty suburban! But these few years later I wonder - what if that night, and that experience, was more supposed to be a lesson for me than for that couple? What if God was trying to teach me about mercy and compassion? What if the redhead in me needs to get a different point across?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Twelve Weeks

"Oh the wax and wanes of pregnancy poop!" said the text message. It made me laugh. And if you've ever experienced pregnancy, you'll probably laugh along with me. Things don't work the same as they once did, and there is a whole lot of adjusting going on. I'm not showing - I just look like I am because my intestines are full and I'm bloated beyond all recognition. I've got more gas than a Phillips 66 station, and things are uncomfortable! Yet I'm still completely excited and in awe of what's taking place.

All stomach bloatedness aside, after I moved past the nausea and got over the flu/cold bug, I finally started to feel like a semi-normal person again. This last week I've been able to cook, clean, and take ownership of the responsibilities I didn't even have enough energy to think about doing, let alone the physical capability. Winding down the first trimester has proven to be worthwhile in more ways than one.

Wednesday was a rough day for me though. I learned that the phrase "mood swing" doesn't necessarily mean from minute to minute, or even hour to hour. I had a 14 hour mood swing on Wednesday. My mood pendulum was swinging over in the "death-glare anger" area. I was livid. For 14 hours. Thursday, I was fine, and yesterday, I laughed all day long. But lo.....Wednesday. Wicked Wednesday. I can tell you this - I hope I don't have another one of those days. Not only was it scary, but talk about draining! I was not anywhere near the person I wanted to be, and couldn't bear the thought that the anger could be a regular attender to a day-in-the-life-of-Val. Granted, it didn't help that it was a rough day at work and I had to put up with some over-the-top thoughtlessness, but still. Spooky.

Now it's become a battle of nesting. Oh yes - I'm nesting. After being basically laid up for the last six weeks, I am raring to go now. I can tell you that I'm tired of being the only one tired of this house being in the state it's in. I plan on holding a family meeting later today in which I will introduce the dishwasher, how it opens, and the simple task of putting a dish or two inside. It's not easy living with a 21-year-old family member who you love and adore, and simultaneously want to hang by his toes. Maybe I'll hang him upside down in front of the dishwasher.

Brent has been working in getting our basement put back together and I am so very excited to have this house back the way it was before the water issues this spring. We'll be making lots of changes on the main floor once the basement is finished, and I think it's the perfect time to start the in-home projects with the onset of winter just around the corner.

I started knitting a baby blanket, but I've stopped. There are so many things I want to knit for the bean in my belly, that I just don't know really where to start. I imagine I'll finish the blanket soon enough, but depending on the gender of little Ziggy, I may have to gift the blanket later. Of course it's hard to get any knitting done when I'm so busy loading the dishwasher...... :o)

And so with being 12 weeks along, I find I've got more sass. Oh, snap, sassy friend! Just when you thought I couldn't get any sassier, I went and got pregnant. Are we all in for a treat or WHAT? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Appointment, First Report!

I had my first appointment this morning, and was pretty nervous. My ears are still plugged and I've still got a cough and congestion from my bout with the flu, but I put my best game face on for the appointment. I saw the nurse first, Shelly, and she was adorable. I loved her. Brent was in rare form this morning cracking one-liners, and entertaining both the nurse and me. The nurse answered most all my questions and made me feel completely at ease. After paperwork and family medical history, it was off to meet the doctor.

We went in to another room where a different nurse, Tiffany, took my blood pressure and asked some other questions. I've always had a really high pulse, and today was no exception. Sitting completely still, I rung in at 97 bpm. I have to be careful because exercising while pregnant, I'm not supposed to get my heart rate above 140 bpm. When Brent and I were going to the gym 3 times a week, I would get on the elliptical and it wouldn't be unusual for me to be at 180/185. Thankfully for the baby, I've been too ill to push myself. :o)

Dr. came in and introduced herself - I liked her right away. I loved the nurses, and the OB, so all in all, I was praising God I had come to the place I had! She said since I was 11 weeks, she would try to find the "heart tones" so we could hear them at this appointment.

I got situated on the exam bed and she brought the machine out. She apologized for her hands being cold, but let me tell you - they were warm compared to the gel!! She moved the microphone around slowly and patiently, but we couldn't hear any heartbeat. I was eyeing her the whole time, trying to read her face. She turned and said, "I'm going to go get the ultrasound machine." I had Brent come hold my hand.

I was somewhat scared at this point - what did it mean that the heartbeat couldn't be found? She came back right away and got me situated for the ultrasound. After more cold gel, she pointed to the screen and said, "that's the heart beating, right there. 177 beats per minute." I looked. I gasped. There was Ziggy!!

My uterus is tipped and my placenta is right in my front so she said, "That's why we couldn't hear the heart, because the big ol' placenta is in the way." Phew. Ziggy was break dancing like it was nobody's business. Even the Dr. commented, "You've got a little wiggle worm!" I started crying - I was so overwhelmed. This little baby is rocking out inside of me, and I can't feel a thing, but there it was and I was WATCHING it!

She also made an interesting discovery - I'm not 11 weeks, I'm only 10. So I'm not quite as far along as calculated. This pushes my due date back to May 10th. All 3.29 centimeters of Ziggy equals 10 weeks.

I could have laid there and watched Ziggy move around all day. It was incredible. I had to wrap up the appointment, though, and go get my mercury-free flu shot, my blood drawn, and schedule my next appointment. November 11th I go for appointment number 2!

It was such a great appointment, and such an answer to prayer today. I am just in amazement to see and witness God's handiwork firsthand. I'm floored - in total amazement - His creation is beyond exquisite!!

I have been on cloud 15 all day. Way beyond cloud 9! I'm just in amazement at the miracle that's taking place inside of me. And it left me wondering - which one of us did Ziggy get those groovy moves from?! :o)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Portrayal of Pregnancy

Tomorrow will be 10 weeks. Ten weeks of the most inexplicable experience you can imagine!

One Wednesday some friends of ours brought over some homemade lasagna. I had a generous helping and went to knit at another friend's house. The entire time I was gone, I was experiencing heartburn like I have never had before. Granted, the first time I had heartburn I was 26 years old, so it's not exactly like I'm a seasoned sufferer. But let me tell you - that Wednesday was horrible. From about 7:00 until 11:00 that night, my chest was on fire. No amount of milk could douse my discomfort. Perhaps I should have stopped chugging the milk and I could have avoided the next problem.

11:30 I started to get some really uncomfortable stomach pains. Cramping, aches, and all-out misery. I couldn't sleep all night. Around 5 Thursday morning, the stomach pains If you catch my drift? And from 5 a.m Thursday to 10 a.m. Saturday - I couldn't leave my house. By 2 a.m. on Friday, it had become more than I could bear. I woke my husband and choked back tears as I asked, "How much would you hate me if I asked you to go to the store for me?" His response? "Just a little." Yes, folks, the world's greatest husband got out of bed and drove to the store at 2:00 Friday morning to get me something to soothe my issues.

I had asked him to buy me some Pepto, as I had been told by another formerly pregnant woman, with a perfectly healthy child, that it was okay. Within 24 hours I consumed 8 tablets. That's when the next problem started. Apparently Pepto can cause some side effects, that I won't even bother to mention here. I started doing some research online and every site I came across, from doctors, pharmacists, and other pregnant women, said DO NOT take Pepto when pregnant. Pepto is bad, and you're bad if you take it!

Momentary panic. After talking to sister and Mom - panic subsided. I'm fine. I'm confident Ziggy is fine. Lesson learned. It's amazing all the things you can do when you're not pregnant, but as soon as you have a bean in your belly, there is an entire list do's and don'ts that seems to change depending on who you talk to.

I can't eat lunch meat. I can't eat soft cheeses - so my favorite snack of lignon berries and brie cheese baked in crescent rolls? No can do. I can't have sugar alcohol (found in sugar free items). I can't take Pepto. I can't take anything, for any ailment, save for Tylenol. I can't have as much (or any) caffeine. I can't scoop the cat box. (Not complaining about that one!)

Other can'ts: I can't wear a bra because my girls have quadrupled in size. I can't button my pants. I can't stop eating carbs. I can't sleep through the night. I can't believe I'm pregnant.

No, really, I can believe it, but it still hasn't sunk in yet. I suppose next week when I head to my first appointment and get that under my belt, it will be more real for me. Otherwise, it's just been a few weeks of feeling sick. And trying to wrap my mind around this full-blown miracle that's taking place inside my body. I am in no way complaining of anything I've experienced. These are all small sacrifices I'm willing to pay 1,000 times over if it means I get to enjoy a life with a happy, healthy child.

Psalm 139, David talks about being "knit together in my mother's womb." Being a knitter, I understand the attention to detail that takes, and the sometimes laborious efforts to create a wonderful garment. What's going on with Ziggy is more intricate than any garment I could construct with yarn or needles. It really and truly is a miracle of life - God's handiwork.