Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Great Penny Rescue

Well, I'm surprised we made it this far into our parenting journey without facing this situation, but it has finally happened.

Abram swallowed a coin.

No matter how many prior warnings your child has heeded about the dangers of putting stuff in his mouth, sometimes the urge to pretend he is an animal and use the object as said animal's 'food' wins out. (There's always a legitimate reason, right?)

He didn't intend to swallow it. Both kids were sitting at the kitchen table while I was preparing lunch, and suddenly I heard him cough a little.

“Mama,” he said. “I got money in my mouth!”

“Spit it out!” I said as I rushed to him. Too late. Panic set in. “What was it? Are you sure it was money?”

Hannah confirmed it was a penny that she had found earlier and set on the table. And so commenced the course of action most parents would take in this situation – a brief freak-out, followed by a frantic Google search.

Thankfully, there was plenty of information on the topic, as “swallowed a penny when will it pass” appears to be a commonly searched phrase for the overly cautious and Google-obsessed moms like myself. The most trusted sources said to wait it out – it would most likely pass on its own. If it didn't after several days, you might want to go in for x-rays to make sure it's moving through the system, but kids swallow stuff all the time. It was a relief to see that a swallowed coin was not a reason to worry.

Unless it was a penny minted after 1982.

Pennies minted before 1982 are completely fine because they're made of copper, but pennies minted after 1982 are made of mostly zinc, which reacts to the stomach's acid and can potentially cause ulcers. (Rare, but a possibility.)

Great. Since I didn't exactly get a chance to check the date on the coin before my child decided to shove it in his mouth, there was no way of knowing if this was just a harmless penny or a stomach-eating death ray making its way through my precious baby's body.

All we could do was wait it out and keep an eye on him. He continued to act normal (normal being the equivalent of a jackrabbit hyped up on a few shots of espresso), so I tried not to worry. I wanted to make sure the foreign object came out though, so I wasn't looking forward to what I would have to do.

The first poop check was awful. It was one of those that looks innocent enough but packs a stench strong enough to knock down anyone within a 20-ft radius. And thank God for disposable gloves because if I'd had to perform that task without them, I might not have ever recovered.

No dice.

I had to wait two more days for another opportunity, all the while thinking we'd have to take him in if we didn't hit the jackpot soon. I was hoping the Raisin Bran was doing its job.

Finally, on the third day after the incident, I found him on the potty once again (he doesn't tell me when he needs to go because he needs his 'pwivacy') and got some plastic bags ready for some more gold panning. You would think that locating something that doesn't belong would be simple, but I almost didn't see the stupid thing. One final mush and at last, there it was – the Lincoln Memorial smiling up at me from a pile of poo.

So relieved, I washed it thoroughly and took a picture on my phone to send to Clint. My dad was at the house visiting, and, having the bizarre sense of humor he does, begged me to first send a picture of a rock and a crayon smothered in peanut butter with the caption “Well, we didn't find the penny, but...”

So I, having inherited the bizarre sense of humor, said “crunchy or creamy?”

After it was all said and done, I was glad to come away with the knowledge that kids really are pretty resilient and a thankfulness that our bodies are so efficiently designed.

And I did send Clint a text of our new keepsake with an important caption.
why must kids put everything in their mouths
1972, baby.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Faith Response

I've been on a trip.

It was a trip on which my spirit was renewed, my soul was encouraged, and I fell in love with the little state of Iowa.

Iowa is not at all what I expected, and what I expected was pretty much fields of corn in a vast expanse of nothing else. No, it's hilly and green, and there plenty of trees, and cornfields, yes, but they give a golden hue to the land and a warmth unmatched by any other place I've been. And the old farmhouses fill that land with a sense of timeless appeal that speaks to a quiet soul such as mine, one that longs for solitude.
And it was there at a little church in the middle of all this solitude where I found what I've been looking for and didn't even know it. I was reminded of what it's like to know the One who gives me the quiet that I seek, along with the companionship that I need.
How To Have Hope In Trials
(Not Iowa, obviously, but taken on the way.)
“Be still and know that I am God.”

Initially, our primary purpose for going on this trip was to attend a bible conference and discuss a new ministry project, but as I quickly discovered, I was wrong about the primary purpose.
Because, of course, He orchestrates all things.

We all have a hard time being an encouragement to others if we ourselves are not encouraged, but that has been a problem lately – there is little out there to find very inspiring or encouraging.
I can't hardly get on social media – or any media, really – these days without becoming incredibly sad, or angry, or overwhelmed. I don't know if you've noticed or not, but things in this world are not alright. Maybe they've never been alright, except in the Garden, but the tension seems greater now, the circumstances particularly more dire.
But what I learned from the hearts that I connected with on this trip is that there are others like me. We are not alone in this world. We're together in the fight.
I am not the only one who has been looking around at everything that is taking place and wondering if the whole world has gone mad.
I'm not the only one who gets angry, who sometimes wants to punch some sense into people.
I'm not the only one who has allowed it to weigh me down, who has wondered if it's all completely hopeless.
I'm not the only one with fears.
And I'm not the only one who is resting in the hope that comes from Him.

That's a big one – the key issue. It's the one we're not supposed to talk about, you know. You're crazy if you mention anything about the forces of good and evil – call it anything but a 'spiritual issue'. But what is evil if not the absence of good? And darkness, if not the absence of light?

What is the absence of God?
I don't know how people remember 9/11 and still don't believe evil exists. I don't know how they mourn beheaded children and still don't believe evil exists. The only answer I can come up with is – because evil exists.
So if there is anything that can at all be an encouragement in these uneasy times, as we reflect on 9/11 and everything that has happened since, everything that has happened before in the course of human history and everything that waits for us in the days to come, it's Him. It's the fact that His presence resides in other souls, in the cornfields of Iowa, in the house down the street. He surrounds us in ways we could never dream.
We are not alone in the fight.