10 Fingers & 10 Toes

via Flickr”]20061126_DHo_baby feet (11)_B&W_ps

Image by christine [cbszeto

Often, in the “Do you want a boy or girl?” conversation, one innocent phrase pops up at the conclusion…

“As long as he or she has 10 fingers and 10 toes, right?”

or a phrase similar to it.  (“As long as it’s healthy, we don’t care what the gender.”)

A few weeks ago, I had such a phrase interjected into one of my conversations.  I smiled politely without thinking twice about the statement; but now I’m not so sure I agree.  Actually, I don’t agree with it all.

You see, I believe that even those people born with disabilities, diseases, abnormalities, and mental handicaps have been shaped and created by God.   I may not understand why God allows these things to exist, but I do know every person, no matter his capabilities or health, has a purpose in life and is cherished just as much as any healthy person.

I pray daily for our child’s health… but if our son or daughter should be born without 10 fingers or toes, or not “perfectly healthy”, my love for him or her will not diminish.

Boy or Girl?

This baby is one month old.

Image via Wikipedia

Lately I’ve been asked quite frequently whether I feel the baby is a boy or girl.  It’s weird, but my feelings have changed.  In the beginning, I felt it was a girl and could only think of girl names and decorations.  However, about 6 weeks ago I started thinking “boy” and couldn’t focus on anything girly.  Either way, we’ll be happy.

Along with being asked what I think, I get a lot of guesses…”You seem to carrying low, so I think it’s a girl.”  (or, I’ve even heard the exact opposite…that since it seems I’m carrying low, I’ll probably have a boy).

“Craving sweets? – it’s a girl.”

“It’s a boy…I’ve dreamed it!”

And so it continues on.

I really do enjoy the guesses; it’s part of the fun.  So in keeping with spirit, I decided to go through the wives’ tales that are supposed to determine if the baby’s a girl or boy. Below is a list that I found on ivillage.com with the supposed gender determinants.  Next to each symptom I’ve placed a YES or NO depending on if I’ve experienced it.  (I’ve deleted a few really personal ones about my nipples and urine.  Not sure you really want to hear about that!)

It’s a boy if:

  • You didn’t experience morning sickness in early pregnancy.  YES
  • Your baby’s heart rate is less than 140 beats per minute.  NO
  • You are carrying the extra weight out front. (NOT SURE WHAT THIS MEANS REALLY…BUT, YES?)
  • Your belly looks like a basketball. UM…YES?  A SMALL ONE…
  • You are carrying low.  YES
  • You are craving salty or sour foods. YES
  • You are craving protein — meats and cheese. YES
  • Your feet are colder than they were before pregnancy. NO
  • The hair on your legs has grown faster during pregnancy. NOT REALLY, MY HAIR’S ALWAYS GROWN ANNOYINGLY FAST!
  • Your hands are very dry. NO
  • Your pillow faces north when you sleep.  WHAT?  BASED ON WHICH SIDE OF THE PILLOW?  IF IT’S BASED ON THE OPENING OF THE PILLOW COVER…THEN, YES.
  • Dad-to-be is gaining weight right along with you. DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT, SO, NO.
  • Pregnancy has you looking better than ever. UM…NO… UNLESS YOU THINK OF A WIDENING BUTT AS “LOOKING BETTER”! (yes, I know I’m pregnant & it comes with the joy of becoming a mother…but it doesn’t mean I have to like the idea of the weight gain.  In fact, this has been the hardest part for me).
  • Your nose is spreading. OH NO!! DOES THIS HAPPEN IN PREGNANCY TOO?!?!  NOT YET FOR ME, AT LEAST.
  • You hang your wedding ring over your belly and it moves in circles. LOL!! I JUST DID THIS FOR THE FIRST TIME…AND IT WENT IN CIRCLES BUT THEN STOOD STILL WHEN I MOVED IT AWAY FROM MY BELLY!
  • You are having headaches. YES.  JUST RECENTLY STARTED.
  • You add your age at the time of conception and the number for the month you conceived and the sum is an even number. NOPEIT’S AN ODD #.

It’s a girl if:

  • You had morning sickness early in pregnancy. NO
  • Your baby’s heart rate is at least 140 beats per minute.  YES.
  • You are carrying the weight in your hips and rear. NO
  • Your left breast is larger than your right breast.  :)   NO.
  • Your hair develops red highlights. NO
  • You are carrying high.    NO.
  • Your belly looks like a watermelon.  YES?  IDK…WHAT KIND OF WATERMELON? SOME ARE PRETTY ROUND LIKE A BASKETBALL!
  • You are craving sweets. YES!  CAN YOU SAY “BANANA SPLIT”?
  • You are craving fruit. YES!  EVEN GRAPES, WHICH I DON’T EVEN REALLY LIKE.
  • You crave orange juice. NOT REALLY. BUT I’VE ALWAYS DRANK A BUNCH OF JUICE SINCE I WAS A LITTLE GIRL.
  • You don’t look quite as good as normal during pregnancy.  YESMY FACE IS BREAKING OUT & I’VE ALWAYS HAVE CLEAR, CLEAR SKIN!
  • You are moodier than usual during pregnancy. YES.  MY HUSBAND, MOM AND STUDENTS WILL CONFIRM THIS ONE!
  • Your face breaks out more than usual. YES.  JUST RECENTLY.
  • You refuse to eat the heel of a loaf of bread.  YES.  BUT THIS IS NOTHING NEW; I’VE NEVER EATEN THE HEEL.
  • Your breasts have really blossomed!  NOPE. NOT YET.  :(
  • Your pillow faces south when you sleep.  AGAIN…IDK…BUT NO, BASED ON MY PREVIOUS CONCLUSION.
  • You hang your wedding ring over your belly and it moves from side.  NO
  • You add your age at the time of conception and the number for the month you conceived and the sum is an odd number. YES
Results:
Yeses for “boy”:  9
Yeses for “girl”:  9

I guess we’ll just have to wait for the conclusive sonogram scheduled for March 10!

Thinking of starting over

I would love to start blogging again…but I feel the need to completely start over .

“Parksmission: Me on Mission” just doesn’t fit anymore.  When I originally named the blog what I did, Josh and I were on a literal mission to be full-time missionaries to Ukraine.  The sole purpose of the blog was to share our experiences with friends and family at home in the U.S.  However, once we returned to the States for good, the purpose began to fade as our ministry began to fade.  I’ve used the blog occasionally to record my thoughts and experiences, specifically in relation to my faith (which fit the title and purpose perfectly), but, things are changing…I’m changing…

I guess I’m still on some kind of mission (or two).  A soul-searching mission to figure out exactly who I am and what I truly believe.  A parenthood mission – as Josh and I plan for a new baby and anticipate all the joys and anxieties that accompany being a parent.  But, even with those “missions”, the blog name just doesn’t feel right.

 

I miss writing.  I miss the blog community.  But, I think in order to truly re-engage, I’ve got to start over…

 

It Seems So Surreal

Josh and I are excited to share with you that, after 10 1/2 yrs of infertility, we are pregnant!  Baby Parks is scheduled to arrive the first week of August 2011!!

Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Child Abuse and Facebook

For the last several days, the following profile picture meme has been going around facebook:

change your facebook profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood! The goal is to not see a human face on facebook by Monday, December 6th. Join the fight against child abuse! Copy & paste this message to your status to invite all your friends to do the same. Lets Stop Child Abuse.

I personally find this “game” banal and ineffective.

The instructions say the goal is “to not see a human face til Monday.”   Wait?  who’s being abused -  cartoon characters or HUMAN children?  When I, and probably most of the people on Facebook, see one of the cartoon characters on someone’s profile, we don’t stop and think “oh poor child who’s getting beaten tonight…I’m thinking of you.”   We’re thinking, “HECK YES!  I LOVED Rainbow Bright as a kid!”

Ineffective.

There are those out there who believe in the power of prayer.  If you do, and you changed your picture, I’m curious…have you really prayed for these children?  I hope so…but I doubt that many have.  They’re still thinking about how much they loved the smurfs when they were 8.

The meme instructions also say, “Join in the fight against child abuse” and “Let’s stop child abuse.”  I understand that many people do not have the financial means to donate to charities that are fighting daily for abused and neglected children.  (Even though I have no doubt that most people are spending hundreds of dollars on their own children this Christmas but can’t afford to donate even $20 dollars to children who’s parents have neglected them during this joyful season).  But even if you truly haven’t budgeted to donate to child charities, or perhaps you’ve already donated to other worthwhile causes, just changing a picture does not fight against child abuse.  It’s trite and too simplistic.

A true fight begins with EDUCATING one another on the issue.

Share Statistics. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Child Welfare Information Gateway has a plethora of statistics.  You can search through them HERE.  Perhaps find a few statistics to post in your Facebook status throughout the next week.

Learn the Signs of Abuse. It’s not enough just to know the statistics.  You must be able to recognize symptoms of abuse and know how to intervene on a child’s behalf.  Helpguide.org gives detailed information on understanding child abuse, lists warning signs that point to abuse, and ways you can help save the abused child. You can go directly to this information by clicking HERE.

Once you’ve got down some of the statistics, facts, and intervention techniques, TAKE ACTION!  And you can do more than just donate money.  Prevent Child Abuse America has some great (and effective) suggestions for raising awareness of the issue, such as printing posters for your workplace bulletin board, or writing elected officials asking for more funding.  Check out more financial-free ideas by clicking HERE.

I understand that most people have good and honorable intentions when they participate in the “change your profile pic” game.  …

It’s just not enough.

Lines

Lines in America…

...for $60 toys and $200 game consoles

Lines in Haiti…

... to see a nurse after not having any medical care in months, possibly years.

Lines in America…

...for $10 coffee pots and $1000 tvs

Lines in Haiti…

...for half a peanut butter sandwich and a small cup of juice

Lines in America…

...for $300 computers and $170 mp3 players

Lines in Haiti…

...for one used piece of clothing that someone in America no longer wanted

Tents in America…

...to be the first in line for Awesome deals

Tents in Haiti…

...because this is where they live.

Life to the Full

loneliness

Image by Ferran. via Flickr

Over the last few weeks months, I’ve been slipping into a depression.  With all the transitions and trials in my life, I rather expected the ever-looming dark cloud to pop up above my head & drench me in self-pity.  However, I’m quite acquainted with my gloomy shadow, and can usually kick it to the curb before I get too far into the pit of despair.  But, this cloud has lingered, and its shadow has darkened the goals I set for myself during this sabbatical from ministry.

I lived 15 years with a full plate…and now that that plate has been scrubbed clean and stored in a cabinet, I don’t know what to do with myself.

Overall, the transition has been refreshing.  I feel little stress and NO pressures to perform perfectly.  There’s no rushing around from one commitment to the next.  I do what I want, when I want, and how I wantand it feels good!

However, accompanied with these new luxuries of time and freedom comes boredom and loneliness.

I’m not surrounded with the abundance of friendships that used to envelope me weekly.  Phone calls & texts have stopped.  Facebook messages & comments have significantly decreased.  Invitations to dinners, parties, and game nights have ceased.  I know I still mean something to these friends, but it’s difficult to be on the outside.

And, because I’m not invited anywhere or involved in anything, I’ve got nothing to to do.  I’m bored.  Except for the occasional, once-a-month weekend activity, I do nothing but come home from work, get on the computer, cook dinner, get back on the computer, watch a movie, read a little bit, and then go to bed.  It was nice for a while.  But now it’s tedious and making me lazy…and when people only idle about, they become overwhelmed with feelings of uselessness…which leads to depression.

I’m not excusing my depression.  I’m quite aware that it’s unacceptable…and I’m working on it.  I’ve opened up with Josh and a few friends (and now to the world), and am making steps to lift myself back up.  I don’t expect it to be a quick process, but that’s why it’s called a process…it takes time to figure out solutions and implement them.

One of those friends who knows what I’ve been going through, sent me the following poem.  It has been a huge encouragement and is exactly what I needed to hear.  For so long I’ve lived a full life…but it’s time I figure out what it means to “live life to the full.”

For years I lived full.
Full schedule.
Full plate.
Full speed ahead.

I found myself weary, wondering,
“Is this really how it’s supposed to be?”
And then it seemed God asked me to learn to live differently.
To focus on love.
To make time to listen to His voice.
To embrace what He’s called me to do and let all else drop away.
“Isn’t that what I’ve already been doing?” I asked.”Don’t you want me to be busy, to push myself to the limit?”It seemed the heart of heaven smiled and these grace-words drifted into my day. “Daughter, I did not come to give you a full life. I came to give you life to the full.”
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

–by Holley Gerth

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