Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Silas, the Curious

Jason and I were in the dining room, a room away from where Silas was playing.  We weren't really paying attention but since he was happily playing, we were content to continue working on some stuff together.  Then I said to Jason, "it seems awfully quiet in there..."

Where was Silas?  Right where we had told him NOT to go.  But how could you be mad at him when this is what we found?

"oooooh, dirt!"

A cute little mess indeed!  (He was covered, head to foot in dirt!)  Too bad a few baby tomato plants had to lose their lives though...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Death, Life and In-between

Ever have a post that has been burning in the back of your head for weeks, but you just haven't sat down to write it? 
Well, I have.  
And, now it's lost some of its freshness.  However, I need to write about it because it's important.

I'm a nurse (duh), so it may well be expected for me to see patients die.  But somehow, it still can be quite surprising and catastrophic.  I had a young patient (late 30's) who I had never met.  Upon arrival on my shift, it was quite apparent that she was beyond sick.  She had cancer.  It was everywhere.  Her devoted, gentle husband was at her bedside.

To say that her death was imminent would be accurate, but at the same time, how she happened to pass away was not peaceful.  It was graphic.  It was messy.  It was horrific.  It was devastating.  I have never seen someone pass as she did and it was scary.  Watching it was traumatizing, but I can only imagine how it must have felt for her husband to stand by and watch his much loved wife violently pass from life to death.

Death makes you think about a lot.  She was so young.  How can this happen?   How is it, that I too, will watch people I love die?  As a believer in life after death I am thankful for hope and the truth that this life is not all there is.  That even though the body is fading, the soul will never fade.  But, here's the real shocker:  what if, what if she didn't know this hope, and didn't know Christ?  What if, after enduring years of pain, suffering, and sorrow, she passes from this life to the next in trauma and violence only to find that she will now endure an eternity of suffering, separate from her creator and His love?  Now THAT is scary.  That reality is much more frightening than death itself.

A lot happened at about the same time as this work shift.  My great aunt died (I didn't actually know her) and then the next week, at my Church's weekly women's group, a hospice nurse shared about her job.  It was hugely impactful and I wanted to bawl the whole time I was listening.  As much as I hated watching this patient of mine die, as much as taking care of her life-less body was awful and, well, awkward, and as much as the reality of death is shocking and intrusive, I realize how much I love walking beside people as their loved ones pass from death to life.  Maybe that's odd, but I think that the Christ, in me, is attracted to brokenness.  He longs, through me, to touch those who suffer.  To walk with them, cry with them, hurt with them, and sorrow with them.  Maybe it's because I am all too aware of my own brokenness that Christ ministers through me this way.  I dunno.    But I feel Him most, and feel HIS satisfaction most when I am with those who suffer in this life.

I loved what the hospice nurse said: how death causes families to have to be authentic.  It causes them to need others to walk with them.  They think about things differently.  They view their own lives differently.  Conversations filled with hope and sorrow are frequent.  It made me want to be a hospice nurse.  I wonder if perhaps that is why God has allowed me to suffer in different ways in my own life.  With the shattering of my own family, with the difficulty in dealing with physical ailments, etc. 

Who knows where God will take me, but I wonder...maybe it's weird...but if I will somehow be journeying with those who are in between this life and the next.  

[Phew.  I promise the next post will be about happier, more everyday subjects like baking granola or Silas' running around the house with a hockey stick day in, day out, or maybe about how impossible making a quilt really is]

Friday, May 13, 2011


I was reading the Bible and contemplating yesterday.  How is it, that here I am, with weeks of quality, nightly sleep under my belt, and I have not stopped to just say 'thanks' again for God's gift of healing to me?  How is it that I have so quickly forgotten the misery that marked much of the last year with night after night of sleeplessness?  It was my focus, I was consumed by it, I was defined by it.  And now, here I am, having suddenly and remarkably been pulled out of the pit I was in of hopelessness and despair, and I haven't stopped to say 'thanks' again to God.  
  In fact, I feel like I've given credit where credit was not due.  No, it wasn't that I was pregnant, and tired, and that's why I've been sleeping so fabulously.  No, it wasn't that I finally got off my sleeping pills and that's why I can now miraculously sleep.  No, it wasn't that I started seeing a sleep psychologist (he didn't do much at all really).  It was God.  Simply.  Completely.  Absolutely.  Why did He choose to heal me when He did?  I don't know.  Why did He wait so long?  I REALLY don't know.  But here's the kicker: where is my marker, my pile of rocks that I go back to and remind myself of the incredibly compassionate and merciful God that I serve Who, in His great love and grace, healed me of such a horrible affliction?  I feel like such an Israelite.  They watched the red sea part before them, allowing them to escape from their enemies and weeks later they are bowing down before a statue made of gold.  WHAT?  They already forgot.  They didn't stop and remind themselves of their incredible rescuing God.
  I don't want to make the same mistake.  I want to learn lessons, LIFE-LONG lessons from what this year was.  I want to never doubt the power of prayer, and that God is willing and able to do miraculous healings today.  I don't want to forget that healing isn't just for everybody else but me, God does know me, see me, and love me and longs to pour out compassion on me, too.
  So here I am.  Just saying thanks.  Wow.  I've been sleeping and, you know, it's been such a gift.  Thanks God- for seeing my despair and when I was ready to truly give in, and give up, You came and You healed.  I am ever ever ever grateful.  

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lists. Lists. Lists

To do:
1. Must. blog. more. often. 
2. Must finish planting veggie garden.
3. Plan for crazy adventurous road trip to fort collins this summer!
4. Finish folding laundry. Again.
For some reason, today is all about lists.  It's been awhile since I've blogged because there were some things I couldn't blog about (namely, pregnancy) which created a bit of a writer's block.  How could I NOT blog about THAT which was consuming much of my thoughts and energy?  But since the news is o-u-t I can talk about baby #2 and other things occurring these days in the Brink household.
List #1: What I love about being 12 weeks pregnant:
1. I get to hear the baby's heartbeat. (sigh of relief) 
2. Nausea is going away.  (yucky)
3. I got to see baby waving at me today!  (My doctor has this way cool, hand-held ultrasound device.  AND behold: little hand waving for me to see.  Amazing!)
4. I finally can TELL people. (sigh of relief #2)
5. I LOVE pregnancy jeans.  Wish I could wear them ALL the time.  AND now I've given myself permission. (YES!)
List #2: What I love about Silas being 15 months old:  (This has been a very difficult stage for me and him, however, I'm choosing the see the positive about this age!)
1. He can walk, and is getting better at it all the time!
2. He's talking more all the time- he says ho-ck-ey and more, uppie, mommy, teddy, puppy and many more very cute (and intelligent) words (lol)
3. He can fold his hands to pray!
4. He still, most often, naps twice a day.  (lifesaving)
5. He can focus on one activity for longer than 5 minutes!  (such as playing hockey with a kitchen spoon and ball or ripping up tissue paper into teeny tiny confetti shreds) 
6. He will actually stand still and let us wipe his nose (a-mazing)
7. He is capable of helping us 'clean up' now!
List #3: What I'm looking forward to in the near future:
1. Spending a month in Colorado for bible school!!! Yahoo
2. Going to Saskatoon for Jason's staff conference this summer.
3. Camping.  I dunno when or where, but it's gonna happen this summer!
4. More hiking (Silas is still such a great little sport and will hike with us for hours at a time!)
5. More biking! (We've had a few bad rounds, let's hope this summer Silas is ALL ABOUT the bike!)
In other news:
1. We don't think we'll find out if this new babe is a girl or boy (aaaah, could I even WAIT that long to know?)
2. We're sad to see two great couples we love move away this summer, and another great couple leave our church  (hopefully that doesn't slow down our friendship!)
3. We're, in the meantime, needing to study like crazy to do an online course before June.  Not sure we'll make it...

Monday, May 2, 2011


Phew. What. A. Day.  I realize I haven't written in awhile and this post may be somewhat negative but man.  Parenting is SO hard.  Each day brings new challenges.  Silas does something that throws me and I apparently am not good at coming up with discipline rules on the fly as I've become very inconsistent I think.  Silas has been pushing every button, screaming, throwing himself on the floor, 'fake' throwing things to see me react, saying 'no' back at me.  Who is this child?  Is he really mine?  A better question is, where are Jason's genes in him??  All this to say, after much encouragement at bible study (thanks guys) I think I need to actually sit down and work out what my actions will be.  If I am not pro-active, I am inactive.  I end up being this passive bystander praying every two seconds "Lord help me, give me wisdom, give me patience."  So far, I've done well at staying relatively un-emotional and not getting angry or yelling.  But I feel more like a passive observer.  I need to start increasing discipline and try some time outs and other more clear punishments.  It's so hard though!  It's hard to convince yourself that it will get better when your son is screaming bloody murder in his crib after you've placed him there for time out- only getting more and more vocal as time passes rather than more calm.  How do you teach a fiery, strong willed little boy with raging emotions and tons of energy how to calm himself down?  Obviously, he can't.  Someone tell me that toddler hood will give way to a well behaved young boy?!  I know it doesn't happen 'automatically' it will take work on our part but it's so hard to know what response will bring what outcome in Silas.  Will he feel unloved?  Will he feel like we're too harsh?  And then my biggest fear- what if we are not harsh enough?  What if we are too lenient and he doesn't respect our authority?  Then what.

Prayer.  Book suggestions.  Advice- ALL is welcome here!  
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