Saturday, March 29, 2008

Get out of jail free

A young man gets out of jail.

"What's he going to do now?" I ask.

"Well," Tom replies, "The System tells him not to worry about getting a job right away. He should just go on welfare and slowly ease himself back into society."

"That's ridiculous! He'll just ease himself back into crime!"

Of course, Tom knows this. That's why he intends to set up an intense discipling program with this particular young man. Please pray for him, and the young man. If God's grace does not intervene he will very likely be back behind bars all too soon.

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. --Ephesians 4:28

And along the same lines, do you have any idea just how many people are in need of intense, one-on-one spiritual counseling? I will tell you that I can give you a list of names too long for Tom and me to handle. (Especially Tom, since my priority is for my children. I only have one on my list.) So while you are praying, consider this verse:

Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest. --Luke 10:2

Friday, March 28, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

Samuel and Timothy came home today. We are all one big happy family again. As I continue to recover, we will slowly get back to some kind of routine. The report on Samuel was that since he was born three weeks early, he had more problems with his temperature and jaundice than babies born later. He is still a little jaundiced, but not enough to keep him in another day. Timothy is now officially considered asthmatic, and has two puffers now. He has a somewhat complicated schedule to follow for the next ten days or so, with puffers and antibiotics.

Altogether the meds cost close to $150, but that's not so big a deal when you consider that our taxes cover the cost of doctors and hospitals here in Canada. The paper said today that the average overnight hospital stay in Canada is over $7000! When we lived in the States, we could not afford health insurance. At that rate, we'd have had bills totaling no less than $91,000 just for all the hospital stays our family has had since last October. Add in the doctor/midwife fees, lab fees, ultrasound, and other miscellaneous things....I'm quite happy to pay $150 for Timmy's meds.

Abby, Ben and Elijah worked really hard these last few days getting caught up in their math. We need to work on history and writing. We never did get any science this year, although I did try to have them do a few nature studies reports related to the geography that correlates with their history. Thankfully, Sarah has been keeping up with her schoolwork on her own, though she has gotten behind some since helping me.

Another thing to work on now that Samuel is born: being active outside. I told Abby that as soon as I am completely recovered I am going to race her to the end of the horse farm driveway that borders part of our property. She says she'll beat me. She probably will--at first. But just let her wait, I'll beat her before the end of the summer. That and biking, gardening and hiking are going to get me back into shape. Last year I wanted to get one of those buggies for children that you hook onto the back of your bike. John and Timmy would love it, but Samuel will still be too small. I'm going to make a sling for him, though, for when we go hiking.

More of the ground shows through the snow. The drifts made by the snowplows are still about three feet deep, and there are mountains of snow piled up in parking lots all over town. Behind the hospital there is a whole field where they dumped the whole winter's worth of snow from the hospital parking lots. That's all going to take a while to melt. But more of the geese are coming back, and the air smells of spring.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


So I am posting for my mom since she is at the hospital. She asked me to write something so that everybody would be updated on what was happening with Timothy and Samuel.

What I know is that Timmy is a lot better and should be coming home tomorrow, Samuel's bilirubin count is too high so he is under ultra violet rays for now. I don't think its anything serious, my mom says that is "normal" for early babies. But he should becoming home tomorrow as well after another blood test. Sorry to everybody who heard his bilirubin count was too low, I was busy when my mom called so I didn't really catch everything she said.

But thats whats up, thanks for your prayers.

Samuel update

Yesterday Celine, my midwife, came to check on Samuel. His temperature was down again, so I had to bundle him up with the heating pad again. She consulted with a pediatrician, who said he wants to see him, to see why he's not holding his temperature. So an appointment was made for us for 8:30 this morning. They were kind enough to have us come to the hospital, to the same floor where Timothy is, so I will get to see him today.

Last night Samuel's nose started running, and I listened to him sneeze and snuffle all night. Since he was bundled into bed with me all night, his temp this morning was 36.5 Celsius, which is what it should be. But because his diaper leaked onto his clothes, I had to completely change him. I tried to hurry, but just doing that brought his temp down to 35.7! For those of you who are used to Fahrenheit, that means he went from 97.7 down to 96.3 (measured under the arm) in about 5 minutes.

Tom is getting the van warmed up, so I need to get Samuel ready to go. Will let you know more later.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Introducing Adlyn Morrison, a book, and a DVD

I am adding a new link to my blog roll. Adlyn Morrison is a Christian African-American living in Chicago. She writes about the difficulties of following Christ and the biblical pattern for femininity and godly womanhood in a culture where feminism reigns supreme and good, responsible men (not to mention godly men) are hard to find.

If you have time, take a look. In my opinion, the African American/Canadian family has suffered more than any other from the attacks of feminism and Marxism. The Church has been so duped by the same ideologies that she has been unable or unwilling to affect any lasting change on this or any other culture.

I recently read a book called So Much More, written by two teenage sisters, that exposes the lie of Marxism/feminism and shows how it subtly infiltrated the Church during the 20th century. The book, which is thoroughly researched and well written, is meant to show Christian daughters how they can "rise above their God-hating culture and change it for the better." I highly recommend it. If you're interested, you can order it here or here.

We also got the DVD put out by the same sisters, called The Return of the Daughters. From the back of the DVD: "This highly-controversial documentary will take viewers into the homes of several young women who have dared to defy today's anti-family culture in pursuit of a biblical approach to daughterhood, using their years between childhood and marriage to pioneer a new culture of strength and dignity...and to rebuild Western Civilization, starting with the culture of the home." You can view the trailer for this film here. I believe this is another must-have for any family, even if they only have sons.

I hear, however, that the same family is working on something for the guys.

A little bit of this and that

Once again our son Timothy is in the hospital with bronchiolitis. One more time and he should be "officially" diagnosed with asthma. We find that a bad cold brings on the asthma symptoms, so we've been putting the puffer on him whenever he starts developing cold symptoms. This time, though, things got progressively worse instead of better, so Tom took him into emergency yesterday.

Originally Tom planned to have Josiah stay overnight with him, but decided against that, thinking it better to have a parent there at night. Timothy gets worse at night, which is why he was flown to CHEO the last time. Thankfully that did not happen this time. This morning the doctor said Timothy will need to stay another night, so Josiah is staying with him now to let Tom come home to sleep.

Samuel is doing well. We have to keep him bundled up to help him keep his temperature up where it should be. He is wearing a long-sleeved undershirt, a short-sleeved undershirt, a pair of socks, a light-weight sleeper, a heavy sleeper, and a hat. He is wrapped burrito-style in a blanket and tucked into my bed under a flannel sheet and two quilts. This keeps his temperature between 36 and 36.5 Celsius, which is where it should stay.

John, Elizabeth, Abigail, Benjamin and Sarah all have cold symptoms ranging from sore throat and nasal congestion to full-blown coughing-all-the-time cold. My throat is scratchy. And when Tom called this morning it was hard to tell if he is stuffed up or just groggy from lack of sleep.


Spring is "officially" here according to the calendar, and the snow is melting bit by bit every day. The days are warmer and usually sunny. And although the snow is still pretty deep most places, there are a few bare-ground spots showing through here and there. Give us another few weeks and hopefully we'll have flowers starting to poke through. I planted a lot of daffodils last fall, and also dug up and divided an iris clump. I'm eager to see how they all do this year. I've got other gardening plans in mind that I can't wait to get going on.

We also hope to do our roof this spring, and start getting the inside of the house renovated. Josiah has plans to help with that, including setting money aside to help pay for it, instead of paying rent like Nathanael does. I've actually been setting aside some of Nate's rent to put toward all that, also.

That's it for now. Thanks to all who have been praying for us.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

7 pounds 3 ounces and other details

Here is my new son, Samuel Thomas Newton. He is my perfectly good reason for staying home from church today.

On Friday at noon I arrived at the hospital to meet with the obstetrician. He did an ultrasound which showed Samuel in head-down position (thankfully!) but still high. We decided to go with the induction because Samuel was still moving around a lot. First I was strapped to the fetal monitors for an hour, then moved to the birthing room. My midwife was also with me, although my case had been officially transferred to the obstetrician.

There they ruptured the membranes and started an IV with an antibiotic and oxytocin. Oxytocin is the hormone that starts labour. I lay on the bed, not being allowed to sit up for fear that the cord would come before the baby's head. That would have meant an automatic emergency C-section, the thing we were most trying to avoid. We needed the oxytocin to work to bring the head down more first.

After about 4 hours, they said his head was down enough that I could sit up a little while they doubled the dose of the oxytocin. I think it was about 6:30 p.m. when the obstetrician finally said I could sit fully upright, which is what works best for me to get the most effective contractions. By about 6:45 the contractions were intense enough for me to say they were quite painful. (After ten births I have developed a rather high pain tolerance! :) )

I heard the doctor say to the midwife that he was going to deliver the baby, and to let him know when it was time for him to come back. When he left the room, I asked Celine (my midwife) if I had to have him deliver. Nothing against him, I said, but Celine knows me, I know her, and we work well together. I said I'd rather have her do it. She left the room, and in 5 minutes she came back and said that she would to the delivery, but that the doctor would be nearby.

At just past 8 p.m. I was in transition, meaning that pretty soon I would start pushing. The doctor poked his head in, saw that we were doing fine, and then stayed in the hall till Samuel was born.

Samuel was born at 8:21 p.m. I held him for over an hour before I let Celine take him to weigh him. She guessed his weight at 7 lbs 2 oz while I said he couldn't be more than 7 pounds. He actually weighed 7 lbs 3 oz and measured 21 1/4 inches long. Tom dressed him then, while Celine helped me get cleaned up. I ate my first meal since breakfast, a very yummy (though not very nutricious!) ham salad sandwich, cookies, ice cream, and ginger ale. Nothing was open and that was all they had in the staff refrigerator.

We left the hospital just after 11:00 and got home at 11:30. Some of the children were still up and the others wanted wakened up. Timothy was not at all thrilled with his new brother that night, but the next morning he was pretty excited. He and John both said, "I wike him!" (Well, Timmy said "it"!)

So there are all the details. Samuel is sleeping now, so I'm going to try to sleep, too. I was awake most of the night with him. Just as I finally got to sleep, Timmy came in to snuggle with me. Then about an hour later John came in to sleep with us because the cat was bothering him in his bed. Tom, meanwhile, had taken over the couch. We need a bigger bed!

Actually, tonight we're going to make sure the big cat is outside and shut the little cat in the bathroom. And Tom is going to work with Timmy on having him stay in his own bed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Baby update

Two weeks ago a visit to the midwife showed the baby to be head down, in proper position and already beginning to drop. Since I was so far along in the pregnancy and have never had a breach baby, we fully expected him to stay that way.

Yesterday, however, the midwife said the baby had completely flipped to a head up position. She ordered an ultrasound, which I had done this morning. The baby is now in the transverse position, meaning that he is side ways--head to the right, bottom to the left. He is considered to be in an "unstable" position, meaning that he could continue flipping back and forth and up and down instead of settling into a good birthing position.

I am scheduled to meet with an obstetrician on Friday at noon. He will try to manually turn the baby into a good head-down position. Three things could happen then:

1.) He could fail in turning the baby. In this case, he will either opt to do a C-section, or wait to see if baby will turn himself. For transverse babies, a C-section is the only option for delivery, since the concern would be that, once in labour, the cord would come out first, posing danger for the baby.

2.) He could get the baby to turn into a good birthing position, and then immediately induce labour. This actually would be okay at this point, since I am 37 weeks and they estimate the baby to be already about 7 pounds. This would all be done at the hospital, with no option for home birth.

3.) He could get the baby to turn into a good birthing position, and then send me home, hoping baby will not turn again before I go into labour on my own. In this case, I would still have the possibility of a home birth. The risk in this is that the baby will continue to flip, increasing the possibility of an emergency C-section later on.

At this point, we (the midwives and I) are leaning more toward option #2. I really have a peace about all this. All through this pregnancy, I've had in the back of my mind the possibility of a hospital birth. I never had that in my thinking before, so maybe this was the Lord's way of preparing me for this weekend. My midwife was concerned that I would be stressed out about this, but I really am not. The Lord is in control of this, and He has given us midwives and a doctor who work well together (many midwife/doctor relationships are NOT good). They are always careful to give us their best professional advice and care, all the while leaving the final decisions up to us. Because of this, we don't feel that we are being forced into situations and treatments that we are not comfortable with.

Please pray with us. Between now and Friday, I am not to do anything whatsoever that could possibly cause labour. No fear of that; Sarah and Elijah "took over" today while I was gone, and said that I was to do nothing but "sit" from now till after baby is born. They are doing all the cooking, laundry, etc. Elijah even made some very delicious French bread this morning. And Sarah gave a couple of hair cuts.

So there you have it, folks. Now I have a two year old and a three year old who need naps, so I am going to lie down with them and read a book. Stay tuned for more news later.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sleepy three year olds

Outside my door just now, I heard John crying. I asked him what was the matter, and he said he wanted Daddy. Tom is not quite over his cold and is tired from snow camp, so he has been in bed asleep for a while. Not wanting to wake him, I asked John why he wanted Daddy. The following exchange took place:

John: "I need Daddy!"

Me: "What do you want Daddy for?"

John: "Because I don't know where to go."

Me, slightly puzzled: "Where should you be?"

John: "In bed."

Me: "So, why do you need Daddy?"

John, suddenly smiling like he realized how silly he was: "I don't know."

He turned and walked away. I asked him if he was going back to bed now. He chuckled and said, "Yes."

About those dogs

My very good friend, who comments as "Prudence" on this blog, brought me some more dog food and two ten foot chains. So yesterday I chained the two dogs outside where they could play in the snow to their hearts' content. Not as much exercise as if they'd gone for a walk or played soccer with Ben, but enough that they were both more than ready to go back into their kennel in the evening.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Holding down the fort

With half the family gone to snow camp, I'm home with four children ages 2, 3, 5 and 9. Abby and I are the only ones who don't have a cold. Timmy and John prefer to sleep in my bed when their older brothers are gone, which leaves me with about 8 inches of bed space. I tried to sleep in the living room last night, but Timmy came to look for me.

Something "fun" I get to do (besides taking the trash and the recycle bins to the road for pickup): I get to take care of two large, rambunctious dogs. In knee-deep snow. With only one too-short leash. That means leaving one dog in the kennel to bark while the other dog drags me through the snow. This morning I decided it was easier just to turn the dogs loose in the yard than to put my 8-months-pregnant self through the torture of being dragged through the snow. Snickers was a good dog and stayed in the yard, but while I went inside to get their water, Puppy ran away to the neighbours' yard. So I had to go fetch her. I also discovered that I do not have enough dog food to last till Friday. I will have to portion it out for them and make it last.

It's snowing again. Not a lot right now, but it's supposed to last till Friday, when it might turn to rain. I can handle rain. The place will be flooded with all the snow melting, but right now I think I will be so thankful for mud. It'll be tracked everywhere, but I don't think I'm going to care. The geese (the Canadian version of the spring-heralding robin) are coming back. Spring is coming!

And so is a baby. Only 4 weeks left!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Not your typical Sunday morning

We have had to cancel Sunday services due to weather more often this one winter than in all the previous 7 winters combined since we've been in Canada.

Instead of going to church, the guys spent about two hours clearing out the driveway. The vehicles were stuck and had to be pushed so they could be moved out of the way. Our near neighbour came over with his snowblower and even our far neighbour came with his front loader to help take care of the end of the drive where the snowplows dumped more snow than the blower could handle.

The storm is officially over and the wind is dying down, so if Cornwall gets cleared out today we should be able to have church services this evening. I hope so. I haven't seen my oldest daughter since Thursday, when she went to stay overnight in Cornwall with a friend.

Timmy's fever rose in the night, but he's a little better now. I will probably keep him home tonight. He cried this morning when he wasn't allowed to go out in the snow with the guys.

Snow camp for our young people starts tomorrow. They definitely have the snow for it. And more snow, possibly mixed with rain, is in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday. But, as someone said on some news station in the US, all this will only make us appreciate spring all the more.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

This and that

Sickness: Tom is getting over the flu, Timmy has another bad cold with cough-induced vomiting and a slight fever, and John is starting in on another cold. Lizzie is just beginning to sound a bit stuffy. I am sneezing.

Snow: We woke up to about six inches of fresh whiteness that fell during the night. The second part of the storm is still coming in, but we've already gotten another 4 inches through the day. We are supposed to collect more snow, mixed with ice pellets and/or freezing rain throughout tonight. This is the third snowstorm we've had in 8 days. If this is the lion that started March, then we're due for a nice, balmy lamb to end March. But I'm not holding my breath.

Pregnancy: One more month to go. I've got the urge to clean, clean, clean; and rearrange furniture, and box up stuff that is cluttering my room, and scrub walls, and..... But I also feel extremely heavy, and ready to lay this baby down. To that person who said she would gladly trade places with me, that last sentence was not meant to be a complaint. I'm excited about the birth. I finally allowed myself to get out the baby clothes and wash them yesterday. The midwife says the baby's head is down and he is beginning to drop! She also told me to wait until after her vacation, which ends on the 20th (I'm actually not due till April 10th). This will be her third delivery for me, and sometimes I think she's as excited as I am.

Timmy is asking to be on my lap, so I think I'll go sit on the rocker and direct traffic in the kitchen while we work on supper.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Submission to God, not more medication

Yesterday I took six children to the eye doctor for their annual exam. While waiting, Ben picked up an old Maclean's magazine. A picture of a bald woman caught his eye, and he began reading the accompanying article. I leaned over to see what he was reading, and discovered the name of yet another disorder. This woman did not lose her hair to chemotherapy, she was not a skinhead, neither was there any other physical reason for her hair loss. No, she has a disorder called trichotillomania, a psychological condition where people feel compelled to pull out their hair.

We live in a society that is obsessed with disorders, manias and phobias. Common disorders include attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. There is a whole slew of manias. I found a long list of them here. And here is a long list of more phobias than you ever knew existed.

One problem with all these disorders, manias, and phobias is that once a person has a label, there is no cure for them. All they can hope for is to "control" the problem with medication and/or some type of therapy. (For example, one recommended therapy for trichotillomania is, oddly enough, rug hooking.) There is no real hope that they will ever get over their problems completely. Why? One reason is that waiting to treat all these patients is a whole army of psychologists and psychiatrists. And let's not forget all the pharmaceutical companies supplying myriads of medications. This is all big business. It would not be economically feasible to "cure" all those people.

Actually, the diagnosis of mental illness (the general term under which all these disorders, etc., fall), is usually not medically legitimate. One doctor working with thousands of cases like these would always send his patients for complete neurological exams and tests. The conclusions found that only about 3 per cent of all those cases actually had chemical or physical causes.

I am not denying that there is something extremely wrong with us and our society today. Something is terribly wrong. But the problem is not physical. It is spiritual. People like their labels because now they have a "legitimate" excuse to sin. Labels help a person remain self-centered instead of God-centered. A person who truly wants to glorify God with all his being will do whatever he can, through the grace of God, to rid himself of whatever "condition" he may have that causes him to focus on himself. He will learn to recognize his sin for what it is and will confess it as such and forsake it.

Do I sound harsh and uncaring? Unsympathetic? A surgeon has to cut into a patient, usually causing much pain, in order to help his patient. His patient recognizes that this pain is necessary for healing to take place. Yet when a Christian points to someone's sin, he is accused of being judgmental and harsh. But a person needs to know there is a sin problem before he can truly experience and appreciate the permanent cure that comes from God alone.

Because there really is a cure.

"Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house forever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:34-36).

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (1 Timothy 1:7; note that the Greek word translated "sound mind" actually means "self-control" which is the very opposite of bipolar disorder and many other "mental" issues).

Too bad more of us aren't afflicted with

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Meditations in the night

"....Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good" (Romans 12:9).

The Greek word translated abhor means "to detest utterly".

Often I wake up in the night for one reason or another. Last night, during those waking moments, I kept thinking about two words: abhor and resist. Before going to bed, I was thinking of a couple of areas in my life where I am often tempted to sin. Both of these sins have a measure of enjoyment in them, as besetting sins usually do. I prayed that God would make me abhor those sins, not just merely resist the temptation. I resist the temptation to sin because I know that sin grieves the heart of God, and I know that any "enjoyment" is exceedingly short-lived. But often, even as I resist temptation, I find myself wishing I could go ahead. This wishing, of course, is still sin.

I want more than just to physically resist temptation. I want to abhor the sin itself. 1 Corinthians 10:13 speaks of a way of escape in the midst of temptation. James 1:12 tells of the crown of life given to those who endure temptation (meaning, they stand firm in the faith rather than give in to temptation). This is all useful information, of course. But what I want even more is what comes with much prayer, as found in this verse:

"Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41, emphasis mine).

I want to be in such close fellowship with Christ that I abhor my sin just as much as He does, to the point where it does not even tempt me. I know that there is no such thing as sinless perfection in this life, but I can still strive to be as holy as possible this side of glory.