Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful for the Good Samaritans

A few weeks ago in our Sunday fellowship we talked about the parable of the Good Samaritan, and it has provoked MANY discussions ever since. The first thing that was interesting to me was when the teacher pushed us to think about the hero of the parable. The hero was the Samaritan, of course. Well, of course I know that, but to the original listeners of the parable it was offensive to have a Samaritan as a hero. So, the teacher encouraged us to think about who might be an offensive hero these days. I came up with jack squat while I was sitting there, but since, I have decided that if Jesus was telling a story and instead of making the pastor or the deacon the hero he made Richard Dawkins (author of "The God Delusion") the hero, I would be REALLY offended. This new thought has given me more fuel for thinking about this parable.

Looking at this parable for the last couple weeks has been difficult for me. I have become really good at rationalizing things. Recently I read Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Cost of Discipleship". Wowee, that was a great reread, but as he goes through Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and even the Parable of the Good Samaritan, he beats down how often we rationalize our motives and the needs of our world. I don't have time...I don't have the resources...I don't know what to say...I am scared...Someone else would be better at that... Dude, no one would ever help anyone if we all stayed there. Bottom line is being a Good Samaritan costs me something. Sometimes it costs me things I do not think I have. Sometimes it costs me my safety. Sometimes it costs me my comfort. Actually I am going to change that to ALL THE TIME. If it doesn't cost me, then I am probably not a Good Samaritan. Dave and I have spent a lot of time talking about what this means for us and our family, but the minute we stop taking risks is the minute that we have failed to live in light of the gospel.

With all of these discussions I keep coming back to two main thoughts...well, I suppose one is a thought and one is a story. I have a college buddy who spent some time in Calcutta, India, working in Mother Theresa's House of the Dying. I remember him talking about walking down the street and literally having to step over dying or dead bodies. Wow, that does not generally happen in my little area of Atlanta. One of the things he told me was how overwhelmed he felt because he could not help everyone, literally he could not. But he reminded me that neither did Jesus. Jesus did not heal every blind, deaf and lame man that he met, but he did heal some. My friend concluded that one of the things he could do was to give every person the dignity of being human. That means he would look every beggar in the eye and give a nod or a smile. He might not give everyone money, but he was going to acknowledge their humanity. How stirring to remember that! That is the very thing that I often do not do. I want to ignore people, I would rather NOT see them, but in doing that I am taking away their humanity.

My story centers around my most recent encounter with a Good Samaritan. I recently traveled to Cali with the girls and I flew alone. For anyone who has ever done this...I commend you. It is not easy to do, and I honestly cannot think about doing it again for a while. One thing Dave always mentions as he sends me on my way through security is, "if you need help, find a soldier". Of course in the Atl there is no shortage of soldiers. Delta's main hub is Atlanta and is also a main carrier for soldiers, so there are always many of them in the airport. So here I am slowly winding my way through the airport. I have the double stroller with both car seats piled on top of the stroller. The girls are walking behind me, holding hands and we make it to the gate. The last part of the journey onto the plane is usually intense because I now have to get everything down the jetway and onto the plane. As soon as I pulled up to the gate I spotted my Good Samaritan a major in the Army, and I knew he was going to help me. What do you know, but as soon as they announce boarding he is by my side asking if he can help me. He pushed my stroller with all my junk, while I was able to handle the girls, and he told me all about his 6 year old twins. He helped me to my seat, looked me in the eye and was on his way. About 30 minutes into the flight there was a medical emergency and a call for a doctor or a nurse. I did not know what was happening, but I turned to the woman next time me and said, there is a major on board, I bet you money he is back there to help. I was right. At some point during the flight I headed back to the bathroom with both girls and we all squeezed into the tiny space (for tips on how to do that talk to me later...it is a science). As I squeezed out, there sat the major with the woman who was sick. She seemed to be better, but he was sitting beside her telling her stories and keeping her company. When he caught my eye and he saw me with my girls he said, "You are my hero". I am assuming that he was talking about going into that bathroom with 2 small children, which while I will not minimize the difficulty, is not difficult in the scheme of life. I laughed and said, "Well, you are mine." He serves me, my girls and our country everyday, and even when he is on an airplane to go visit his family he is still serving all those around him, giving them dignity, and seeing them as the people they are. I aspire to be this kind of Samaritan.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fun in the Leaves

I love the fall. Here are some good family fun we had in the leaves a couple weekends ago.

Annelise's Big Girl Bed

About a month ago Annelise moved into her big girl bed! Isn't it beautiful? Dave worked on it while we were out in California and Annelise was so excited to see it upon arriving home. She has done a great job staying in it. Of course I know it is only a matter of time before she begins to get out. I do feel like the time change is on my side, because it is completely dark when the girls go to bed. I think that is going in my favor.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweet Annelise

Today is my sweet Annelise's 2nd birthday. I remember she was born at 10.18am on November 2, 2007, after 16 ridiculous long hours of labor. I remember the 10.18 part because when they said 10.18 I thought they were refering to her weight (nevermind that there are only 16 oz in a pound). My nurse kept telling me she was going to be big, so it was an honest mistake.

Her name, Annelise Louise, means full of grace and favor and warrior. That seems to suit her very well. She is full of grace, is favored be many that she meets and is a little warrior (just try convincing her she doesn't want something!).
Everyone loves Annelise. She is a very loving, cuddly little girl, and is always giving hugs and kisses to teachers, nursey workers, friends, and of course us. Last week as we were leaving the nursery she ran back (on her own accord) to give kisses to the two workers. She loves giving kisses on both cheeks and if you do not know this she will take your face in her hands so she can deliver the two kisses.

For the most part she is a very easy going child, but she is also very determined when she decides something. I think that has some advantages and we are enjoying this stage of her life. Socially she seems to thrive. She is speaking in full sentences and is fairly easy to understand, and is singing along to songs and repeating her verses with Hadleigh.
This month we transitioned her to a big bed (I need to post pictures of the bed Dave made for her) which has been a huge success. She has not climbed out yet, but then again the getting out of bed seemed to come later for Hadleigh too. I have no doubt she will crawl out of bed at some point. She has only fallen out of bed once, even though Dave did buy a rail for her bed. She was sleeping down by the foot of her bed and so was unprotected. Since that fall I have been going in to check on the girls before I go to sleep, this is a new habit for me, Dave and I usually never go in there unless we hear loud sobs. But I figure it is a preventative measure to make sure everyone is positioned in their beds correctly. Dave thinks it is funny, but I would rather check them at 8.30 while I am awake than at 1.30 in the morning.

Annelise LOVES baby dolls. She also loves many of the things that her big sister likes, like cars and trucks, but her very own love is baby dolls. This is a new one for me, but it is sweet and very fun. She also LOVES apples. This has been great because we get a lot of apples every week in our CSA basket, and she has been devouring them.
She is becoming more and more independent. When she goes to the bathroom she wants to turn on and off the lights and flush the toilet. She still has some issues with getting her pants down, but she is moving in the right direction. She loves to put her shoes on by herself, and to pick out her outfit (although I am still a bit controlling about that issue).

Annelise is also obsessed with drinking. She loves juice, and would go through a gallon a day if I allowed it. She refuses to drink water and I have not pushed it thus far. But I am thinking about seriously rationing her consumption. She is so willful that I'd rather not have that fight, and she does seem to need a good amount of liquids to keep her regular, so for now I look for the juice on sale!
I'll post more about Annelise's sweet birthday festivities later, but for now, Happy Birthday My Sweet Lieska!