Archive | July, 2010

Surrender

31 Jul

I am praying for restoration.

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The End in 2012?

30 Jul

The Mayan calendar ending in 2012 is creating not only huge profits for Hollywood, but also anxiety for many people.  On Netflix alone there are 4 or 5 films about 2012 right now ranging from major Hollywood productions to documentary style works about how it could all play out if the Mayans are correct.  One of my dear friends told me recently about intense anxiety over 2012 really being the end of the world.  This anxiety is causing sleepless nights and has been going on for months.  She asked me if I believed that 2012 was the end, and I said “No.”  Here is why I know that the day the Mayan calendar ends in 2012 is NOT the end of the world.

I believe in the Word of God with all my heart, mind, and soul.  It is written, “For he (God) has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:31 So God has set a day for mankind to be judged and this will be carried out by his Son, Jesus.  “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in Heaven or the Son himself.  Only the Father knows.”  Matthew 24:36 So the Mayans cannot have known the day the world ends because no one knows but God.

This day of judgment does not have to be a source of fear.  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up my cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38


A Friend Crush

29 Jul

My girlfriend’s baby shower last night was a wonderful dinner at the Moroccan restaurant Casablanca with ten of us girls.  It was so good to just hangout, eat great food, and have girl talk.  After the shower three of us decided to go to one of our houses to drink a glass of wine and continue on in our girl’s night.  We talked until midnight and then I gave my girlfriend a ride home.  On the way she said that she was so happy that we were able to hangout and said that we both have a “friend crush” on our other new girlfriend.  I laughed and said, “A what?”  She then explained, “A friend crush, you know when you meet someone that you instantly know that you want to be their friend and you hope that you do become friends because you just get good vibes from them.”  I smiled and said “Oooh, a friend crush that’s great, yeah I totally have a friend crush too!” We then started talking about how we had totally had a friend crush on each other when we had first met and how grateful we were that our teacher had made us work together on a Portuguese class project since we have become such close friends.

I had never heard the phrase “friend crush” before, but I am now completely adopting it into my vocabulary. It is such a good way to explain that connection that I sometimes get when I meet a new girl and I just know that we have a lot in common.  It’s nice to have friend crushes and feel that sense of hope that you will make a new close friendship.  Life would be so bland without good friends!

So I hope that you too have some friend crushes real soon 😉

Jessica

Baby Business: The Birthing Debate

28 Jul

Lately babies are looking cuter and the idea of having one sounding more appealing.  I figure it is because I am 29 and so many of my friends are pregnant or have babies.  As a massage therapist and a person with an interest in alternative therapies and natural living, I have often heard about the debate between natural birthing and hospital births and their effect on babies and mothers.  I like to think that I would have a natural birth because, in general, I am skeptical of western medicine’s philosophy of healing and the idea of having a newborn baby in an environment full of contaminants, like a hospital.

Since I have not actually had a baby, I am not going to say that I won’t have a baby in the hospital, but I am on a quest to get informed about all of my options.  I recently watched Ricki Lake’s documentary “The Business of Being Born” where she details how disappointing of an experience she had with her first child being born in a hospital and goes in depth about the natural birthing process.  The film definitely was eye-opening for me because they actually show several women giving birth without pain medication at home and in birthing centers.  Most of the women had moments when they thought that they couldn’t handle the pain, but kept going anyway and in the end were really happy with the experience.  One of the points made in the film is that women are depriving themselves of an empowering experience that creates a stronger bond with their baby.  While I don’t know if this is true for all women, it was an interesting point.

What I found most important is that the drugs administered in typical hospital births often start a chain reaction of events that can end in C-sections.  For example, Pitocin, is used to mimic Oxytocin which is the natural hormone within the body that causes contractions in the woman’s uterus during childbirth.  Oxytocin is also related to sexual pleasure and love, hence the claims of it creating the strong bond between mother and child since the levels are so high during birth.  The problem according to the film is that Pitocin does not actually create the same effect as Oxytocin.  The contractions brought on by Pitocin are much more intense so they are much more painful for the mother and, worse, they cut of the blood supply to the baby for longer periods which deprives the baby of oxygen and can lead to distress.  So basically, once a woman accepts Pitocin the chain of events has been set in action. With the increased pain from the stronger contractions  she is more likely to choose pain medication. Then if the woman is not able to give birth vaginally and has a C-section, there are other issues such as the fluid that accumulates in the babies lungs which is normally squeezed out during vaginal delivery and can lead to respiratory issues after C-sections.

All of this gives a very strong impression that if your pregnancy is not high-risk, than it is best to not give birth with unnecessary medical interventions.  Yet, it is just really hard to shake the worry of “what if something goes wrong and I’m not at the hospital?!” While I understand intellectually the points against medical interventions during pregnancy, I still find it hard to commit to the idea of not having the “security blanket” of western medicine which is quite effective for emergency situations.  The solution for many women is birthing centers, where you can have a natural birthing process and still have all of the medical personnel and interventions available in case they are needed.

So this brings me to my next point, why are there hardly any birthing centers in Hawaii and none on the Capital island, Oahu?  In my knowledge, the closest thing we have to one is at Castle Hospital where my friend Donna is a head nurse in the birthing center ( http://www.castlemed.com/birth_center.htm ).  I have several friends who have had positive birthing experiences there and at present I would probably also choose this hospital.  They have 4 rooms that have birthing tubs and all rooms are equipped for the baby to be able to stay in the room the entire time the mother is in the hospital.  My question is though, how do you get one of the rooms with the tub?  It would suck to get there and they say that they are all full and then you’re whole plan is just tossed aside!

There are so many things to think about! A woman who works in my building stopped by the office this morning to drop of a time-off request form since she is having her baby soon.  I asked her when she was due and she told me Friday at 11:30 a.m.  because she is having a C-section.  Apparently with her first child she ended up having a C-section after her son was a week late and the Pitocin didn’t work as they had hoped.  So now she has opted to just go straight for a C-section and not try a vaginal birth.  I can understand her situation.

This brings up to mind the issue with C-sections that is taking place in Brazil (and in the U.S. to an extent too); women are choosing to have C-sections out of convenience and to “avoid pain.”  My sister-in-law is due next week Friday in Brazil. In the beginning of her pregnancy her doctor asked her if she wanted to have a vaginal birth or a C-section even though she is not a high-risk pregnancy.  She chose to have a C-section because, as with many of the Brazilian women that I have spoken too, “it is easier and more pleasant.”  To me this is just absurd (And yes I told her this too).  I have studied muscles extensively, and I can tell you that cutting through the abdominal muscles/wall is NOT going to be pain free in the healing process. It will take longer to recover and is gonna HURT! So the whole no pain excuse is totally bogus.  Perhaps it is fear of the process and what it does to our girlie parts, but I still have a very hard time accepting it as something that women should just choose as if they are just choosing to have some cosmetic surgery.

This is all coming from me, a woman who has never experienced it, who can be quite opinionated about certain things and this is one of them.

So what do you think?

Somebody’s sick, but who?!

27 Jul

In the past couple of days I have noticed splattered tiny red droplets on the floor.  I spotted the first one on Sunday afternoon by the front door and when I bent down for closer inspection it really looked like blood, but I figured maybe it was nothing.  Yesterday, however, I noticed another foot long splattering of these little red droplets and I knew something was up.  One of the animals must be coughing or sneezing up blood from the look of the marks on the floor, but I haven’t seen any of them coughing and they don’t seem sick.

I thought that maybe it was just that they ate something sharp since animals often eat random things (and its not odd to find nasty cat puke with all kinds of creatures in it).  However, this morning I awoke to confirmation that there is something wrong with one of our pets.  There was a new splattering of blood on the living room floor but this one was about two feet long with tons of little blood droplets.

What makes it even worse is that I still have no idea whether it is one of the three cats or the dog!  I feel like I can narrow it down to either the Siamese cat, Vivi, or the dog, Yeager, because they are the only two that are allowed in the house. Tricky thing is though that there is a dog/cat door that they use and while I have never seen the other two cats anywhere near it or use it, who knows if they have figured it out and are coming in at night!

One of our cats, Pretinha, (Portuguese for “little black girl”) showed up at our door about a year ago and was obviously a stray, with a couple of dreadlocks and a crazy hissing streak.  I felt bad for her and so I started feeding her and she has now become a super friendly pet.  I am wondering if she has feline leukemia or aids and passed it to the other cats, because my mom said that she saw Pretinha coughing outside the other day.

On the drive to work I was debating what to do, since taking them all to the vet would be super expensive, I was thinking about waiting a couple days and trying to figure out who is the sick one.  I know that as pets we are responsible for their care and some people are gonna say that I should take them all in right now.  But I feel like  a couple of days of investigating should be ok since they don’t seem sick, but if anything major happens I will go right away.  So, as my mind was going over the possibilities I thought about how if they have feline aids or leukemia then we will have to put them down cause it is super contagious to other cats and has no cure.

As I was still thinking about this I opened the bible at random and my eyes fell onto 1 Samuel 20:32 “But why should he be put to death?” Jonathon asked his father. “What has he done?”   This made me feel totally convicted and reconsider my thoughts of euthanasia for the cats.  Hence, I prayed for Yeager, Vivi, Pretinha, and Wizard as Psalm 36:6 states, “You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.”  If you feel so called please send out prayers for my animal companions too.  I will give an update on the mystery sickness. I am hoping for a full recovery and a long life for my four-legged friends.

Jessica

What? Is that hypocrisy?

26 Jul

Most of us have called someone a hypocrite before or have been called one ourselves.  I think my earliest memory of having an understanding of the term is when I was a little girl (maybe 8 or 9 years old) and my Dad told me to make sure I always left my shoes by the door and not strewn around the house.  The first thought that came to my mind was “But your shoes are in the hallway!!!” and I tried to refuse his order (tried being the key word here because I quickly realized that if I didn’t do what my Dad said there would be some unpleasant consequence to follow!).  My understanding of hypocrisy was the act of telling someone to do something when you don’t follow your own words. The old saying “practice what you preach” would be in reference to avoiding hypocrisy.

Yesterday I heard a different perspective about hypocrisy that I had never considered.  So before I go into this new perspective, lets take a look at two definitions of hypocrisy that I found in a quick Google search.

1. Hypocrisy: the condition of a person pretending to be something he is not, especially in the area of morals or religion; a false presentation of belief or feeling. — hypocrite, n. — hypocritic, hypocritical, adj.

via hypocrisy – definition of hypocrisy by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia..

2. Hypocrisy is the act of persistently professing beliefs, opinions, virtues, feelings, qualities, or standards that are inconsistent with one’s actions. Hypocrisy is thus a kind of lie.

via Hypocrisy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Now from the definitions above I see that my understanding of the word did not actually encompass its whole meaning.  I had not applied the term to pretending to be something you are not.  To make this clear, that would mean that every time someone asks you “How are you doing?” and you think to yourself that you feel like crap, are sad, or are angry, but you reply “I’m good thanks” by definition you are now a hypocrite.  Wow! That would mean that I have been a hypocrite quite regularly since childhood!

This goes far beyond not having actions consistent with our words.  If you refer back to the 2nd definition of hypocrisy, it states that “Hypocrisy is thus a kind of lie.”  Every time that we “put on a mask” to hide what we are really feeling, thinking, or experiencing than we are lying.  Now lots of people will say, and I have said this too, that a little white lie such as this does not do any harm.  But what if it is does? What if by trying to keep people from knowing what is really going on in our lives, we are depriving ourselves and those around us from something we were meant to experience, our true and genuine selves.

So why does this matter? Because if we allow ourselves to be who we really are and let people really know us then we can experience genuine relationships, genuine friendships, and genuine love.  As I have said before, I want to put others before myself and that is not possible if I live a life of hypocrisy.  If I am a hypocrite, than I am putting myself first. I am not being genuine and I don’t want to be a fake.

I don’t want to be hypocrite, do you?

Thank you is in order

24 Jul

I have so many things to be grateful for…

Having hope and a future to look forward to.

My health and the health of my family.

Having someone to love and being loved in return.

Laughing with friends.

Peaceful time in prayer and worship.

Having a hand to hold onto.

Being well fed and warm and comfortable.

Having clean drinking water and warm showers.

Sunny days to feel great outside.

Rainy days to feel great inside.

Books to read and pages to write on.

A world to explore and a husband to be my companion.

Simple pleasures and fancy treats.

Babies coming into the world.

Renewed hearts and restored lives.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!