Friday, July 31, 2009

That Long Ago Trip to Kenya: Episode One, Visiting the Baby Elephants

We were toying with the idea of cleaning the house and then going to the library. However, as it is pouring rain it seemed better to waste time online looking at pictures of kittens and reading all the corrections to the Old Classical Conversations Foundations Guide and listening to this:

Finally it occurred to me to blog (did I mention the house needs cleaning?) and at the very least put up some of the very fine pictures we have of our recent trip to Kenya.

As is always the case, any time I visit my parents I come back in a better frame of mind, more grounded in reality, more cheerful, and, in this case, well able to put the grief and stress of the last six months behind me and focus on the present. I've been able to put back on the garment of contentment I once wore, and also look forward in delight and anticipation to this next baby, nameless though she continues.

I'm so grateful that we got to go and see the Anglican Church in Kenya first hand, and see NEGST, where my dad teaches, and see another part of such a vast continent. I'm embarrassed to say that I was surprised to find Kenya as recognizably African. I assumed it would be So Different from the the French Northwest. But it felt comfortable and homelike.

For this first installment, not in chronological order, I thought I'd indulge in pictures from the orphaned baby elephant reserve. There is a fixed time every day that the public can go and see these baby elephants have their large bottles of milk (baby formula to be exact, talk about expensive). The elephants are rescued from a variety of unhappy circumstances--falling in wells, death of the mother, falling into holes in a pipeline, wounded by hyenas. If I remember correctly, there were 19 elephants, way up from previous years because poaching is up.

This young lady delivered a fascinating and informative lecture about the elephants. As she talked, various baby elephants came for pats and to see if there was more to eat. She told us how the various elephants came to be there, and what their lives were like. For instance, baby elephants miss their mamas exceedingly and often cry through the night. They each have their own keeper who sleeps with them all night, feeds them, plays with them and generally lives with them all the time. All other human contact is very minimized so that they can be reintroduced into the wild. This process, once they are taken to the main reserve, can last anywhere from 2 to 6 or more years.

Along with all the baby elephants, this little orphaned Rhino came out to be acclaimed and patted by all. He was very interested in all the people and everyone got to touch him. We, foolishly, waited till he had been lathered in mud before we got our turn.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Slipping back into rhythm

I awoke this morning to the voice of Mark Driscoll preaching powerfully and longly about idolatry, in particular, the idolatry of animals, that is pets.

What! I heard him shout, Jesus isn't enough?!

Felt terribly guilty for being so over tired last night that I cried for an hour about my cat.

Anyway, I'm off for another ultrasound, hopefully to verify that this baby is really a girl. I've become thoroughly used to the idea, so if its a boy it will take some serious readjusting. I even bought my first diaper bag (thought it was finally time, after this many babies) and its pink toile. Besides, its for me, not the baby. And, as Mark Driscoll said, it will be kindling anyway when Jesus comes back.

Pretty sure Jesus is enough. Will take a shower and report back when I'm fully awake.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Home again, home again...

I'm drinking gallons of tea trying to wake up so that I can shove all our stuff in our suitcases, Very Carefully pack our carryons so as to make the most sense and be the easiest to access, and not look too carefully at the fact that in a few hours I'll be flying, with four small children, through Atlanta to Rochester and then hopefully be driven home by Matt. Was that a runon sententence? I believe it was. And I hope your prayers for me will run on and on today without ceasing.

We've had a lovely time here in California, so lovely we haven't had a second to blog. We are brown and rested, and some of us our thoroughly spoiled. But our thoughts are turning to home. I hear that our garden has been growing and growing in the rain. Elphine's cat, Frances, misses her exceedingly. And I, well, I miss my husband. So we are going to do the brave thing and fly in this age of barbaric and crazy air travel. See you on the other side.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Have a Happy Saturday

Matt is here for the day and we're off to the beach!! I've made piles and piles of sandwiches. Great Grandma is filling cold bags of food. Noni (my mother) is doing dishes. And I believe we've all taken a Tylenol or aspirin. So we should be all set to leave in about half an hour.

I'm sure all of Southern California will be out on the beach and freeway with us. This, I believe, is the American Dream.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Server Issues

Stand Firm is continuing to try to get their system back up. Until then, you can follow them here.

A Fabulous Birthday Was Had by All

While Stand Firm struggled with server trouble, we spent the day partying. Elphine, Alouiscious, and Romulous went to the pool early so as to be out of the way, while I and my mother took Gladys and went gathering and hunting for birthday presents, icing, whipping cream and a tub of ice cream. Elphine is So Old (7) that we didn't even consider a toy store for this expedition. We went to a book store and gathered up a lot of beautiful and loved books that she is finally old enough to read as well as pretty cards and note paper, fancy pens, swirly stamps and a very soft white baby owl (family inside joke--so great that she's old enough for that as well).

As the day went forward, I discovered something. Four babies in, I relish the mundane physical tasks of caring for small children. Changing them, dressing them, brushing hair, putting birthday cake on the table, sudden baths for bubble covered infants, evening bible story...I feel settled, suddenly. IMAGINE if I had stopped with beautifully perfect Elphine, one of the most perfect babies ever there was.

Now she is basically graceful, except when she crashes into the furniture, interested in interesting things
and still very beautiful.

Believe it or not, she arranged herself in this way and then called out for someone to find a camera and take a picture of her.
Late in the day, while we all sat around and watched the sippy cups washing in the dishwasher, many of us crying, Alouiscious discovered that there are still 274 days until his birthday. "That's TOO MANY" he wailed. Yes, it is, but they'll go so quickly I probably won't be ready when it arrives.

A Technical Note

Please exercise charity in your commenting on this blog. If there continue to be unkind anonymous comments, I will disallow anonymous comments and will have to check all comments before they post to the site, a sad eventuality as I do not have time to do such a thing.
Thank You.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

From Sunny Southern California

We've finally got back online after a near 3 day Travel Black Out. I'm only writing until the Stand Firm Life Broadcast this evening. This is the first day we've gotten to catch up a little on the news, having only survived with very brief phone updates from Matt.

This morning we worshiped at St. James, Newport Beach. I MEANT to post and say that was where we were going, but the computer could not be had. We will probably be back in two Sundays. Next Sunday we will go to my grandparent's church and then hopefully the week after back to St. James.

We are about an hour and a half south from Anahiem in Murrieta. It is VERY hot but we are settled in the cool beauty of my grandparent's house. They have all the things I have remembered as a child. Having themselves lived all over the world, their house is full of lovely and carefully chosen things. The children are wilting in the heat, after a long cold winter and a fairly cool summer, they are amazed that the mountains are so brown and dry and that they can't really go out in the middle of the day.

Tomorrow is Elphine's 7th Birthday. We will be having fancy tea and a fancy time, being ready to put childish things away. I, having thought long and hard for about a month, still have no idea what I am going to give her on this important occasion. She likes, she says, 'to read books, play with dolls a little, and that's about all.

Meanwhile, we all miss Matt very much but are so grateful that he is covering the news. Me myself, I am watching with morbid facination the devestation of this once fine Episcopal Organization. And, may God be ever praised, I'm so grateful to be watching this time from the outside.
The broadcast is about to begin, so I will resume this at a later time.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sorry about the total lack of blogging

My mother is extremely annoyed with me, as is probably everybody else. We've been gearing up for General Convention 2009. Matt is on his way and will be diving in to the invigorating work of trying to figure out What Is Going On!!!! I've finally twittered up my phone so I can follow Stand Firm.

We will follow in a day or two to just be in the general vicinity and go swimming every day. And also we'll be visiting some much missed family. Right now, I'm going to bed because the business of getting Matt packed properly, getting him to the airport, fussing the kids into bed and then trying very very very carefully to clip our dogs nails has wrung me out. I finally gave up on the nails and will run her to the vet tomorrow on the way home from the library. That's right, we have to go the library, go to the store, go to the post there anywhere we don't have to go tomorrow? While I'm running around, you can pray for Matt and Greg and Sarah that they will shine big beacons of light on the madness of "The Episcopal Church" and that they will have a jolly good time in the process.

Thursday, July 02, 2009