Saturday, April 26, 2008

Even in the church

Lee is at the movies tonight so I've spent the evening on the internet searching to find out what is going on at General Conference. I've found some great blogs (all from Kansas!) and was intrigued to learn that special interests are found even in the Methodist Church. This is from a blog by Rev. Mark Holland from Trinity UMC in Kansas City.
"Bishop Janice Huie of the Houston Area gave the sermon and she was AWESOME! She is the current president of the Council of Bishops and she is really a leading voice in the church. She reminded us that there are 1,000 delegates representing 11.4 million United Methodists in 128 conferences, in 48,000 congregations, in 50 nations, on 5 continents. I wrote that part down, and I may still not have gotten it right, but something like that. She talked about the special interest groups dividing our church, some who believe they have cornered the market on “righteousness”. But, she reminded us of Paul’s message that all fall short of the Glory of God. She also talked about “marshmallow faith” that looks good and tastes sweet, but when it gets too close to the fire, it drips off the stick onto the ground and burns up. We have to have real faith in Christ. Wow."

Rev. Holland continues:
"apparently, the super conservative Good News movement has purchased ALL 250+ central conference delegates (those from Africa and Asia) cell phones to use during General Conference. Allegedly so they can text message them who to vote for…during the Judicial Council Elections. This is not all that surprising as they have already circulated their list of preferred candidates. And, as delegates walk into their committees, the Good News hands everyone a list of every petition and how to vote on it. (I am not making this up!) How easy is that? Even W could be a delegate here…but I digress."

Special interest groups, even in the church!

This quote is from a blog by Jenny who is making a documentary about United Methodist young clergy.
"No other denomination allows its members to petition the entire church body. I listened to the first ever Young People’s Address and was so proud to be a United Methodist. We can be hard on ourselves because we don’t see as much change as we desire. But when we step back and see what God is already doing, it’s incredible. United Methodist people gave 57 billion dollars in the offering plates over the past 4 years!"

I love being United Methodist clergy, okay - now, off to bed!

Friday, April 25, 2008

A trip to Fort Worth

Today the Smith family attended our first General Conference of the United Methodist Church! The General Conference is the only entity that can speak for the United Methodist Church officially. There are 1000 delegates from all over the world meeting in Fort Worth for the next 10 days to look at legislation for changing policies in the United Methodist Book of Discipline. Lee had off today so the entire family went to see what it was like! It really was cool. General Conference meets every 4 years and the last time it was in this area was 40 years ago!

There were lots of displays from the different Methodist groups talking about what they do. And then we saw lots of friends there as well! The different legislative committees were meeting so we just walked around the convention center looking at all of the things to see.

Then, we went to my dad and stepmom's and Madeleine played in a box filled with styrofoam peanuts. She had a great time!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Art Show!

Madeleine is blessed to be able to go to the Weekday School at Lovers Lane UMC where I serve as Associate Pastor. Madeleine really loves it. Tonight Madeleine's school had their annual Art Show. The theme was Planet Art and here is the project that Madeleine's class did, paper mache birds. I asked Madeleine how she made it and she said, "paper mache". God bless her school, she would have never learned how to paper mache unless they had taught her. Madeleine's bird is the blue one high up in the tree.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fancy Madeleine

Madeleine's favorite new book is Fancy Nancy , about a girl who loves to dress up and be fancy. Here are two of her outfits from today. Thanks to Rev. JoNell Lindh for the beautiful flower crown. I visited JoNell's church last week for a workshop on the 5 Practices of Fruitful Congregations. I saw a new park on my way and we visited today. We had to take a potty break and JoNell's church was right around the corner! JoNell gifted Madeleine with her latest fancy accessory.

Big Sister and Baby Brother

Aren't they adorable!

I promise he does do other things besides jump...

I'm not sure what they are right now, but there must be something...

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Trip to Grandma's!

Grandma Phyllis (my stepmom) is wearing Madeleine's new hat, Madeleine had to bring both - her new hat and her new crown!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Everett sitting up in the bath!

Look at this boy!


It is amazing to me how much Everett is infatuated with his sister. I will be playing with him and I think that he is laughing, but then his sister comes up to him, and he laughs in such a way that I realize that he was barely chuckling with mommy. So, when Lee came home I asked him to hold Everett so that I could document Everett laughing hysterically with his sister. In the video Madeleine says, "I can't make him laugh, only smile." I guess he was tired! Madeleine is taking a bath and Everett is observing...

Dress up!

Madeleine loves to dress up! These are her new pretty clothes... including dress, hat, gloves, and tiara! And her new favorite show (is it bad that my 3 1/2 year old has favorite shows?) is Super Why on PBS. She is saying that she is Princess Presto to the rescue... and Red Riding Hood to the rescue (characters from the show).

The perils of being a mom!

Last night while I was feeding Everett and getting him to bed, Lee was getting Madeleine ready for bed. After books and prayers and hugs, Madeleine shared with Lee that she loved mommy a little and she loved daddy a lot.

Lee responded by telling her that mommy and daddy both loved Madeleine a lot. Then, Lee shared with me what Madeleine had said so that I would be prepared. We talked about how to respond, to share with Madeleine that mommy and daddy both loved Madeleine a lot.

And then I shared with Lee about the guilt. You see that day was our long day at the church. We get there at 9am and don't leave until 8pm because of Wednesday night classes. Madeleine is in Awana, which she loves and Lee and I are taking Crown which we are really enjoying. I enjoy Wednesday night church, it just makes for a long day. Madeleine is used to being in bed by 7pm and Wednesdays we are leaving the church at 8pm!

When Lee shared with me about what Madeleine said, my first thought was ... guilt! Guilt that we spend so much time at the church, guilt that I get frustrated with her and am not patient enough. Guilt about anything, everything... When I told my sister about what Madeleine said, my sister responded, "that stinker!" Yes, Madeleine had no idea about the implications of what she was saying, she didn't say it for a reason. She was just being a stinker! The perils of being a mom, taking things that your 3 1/2 year old children say too seriously!

So, in the car this morning on the way to church Madeleine said, "mommy, I love you a little like 2, and I love daddy a lot." I said, "I love you a lot Madeleine!" And I didn't feel guilty, I just said to myself, that stinker!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Adorable boy!

Today I took Everett on his first stroller ride where he was sitting up (I've only strollered him in his carseat).

And another happy jumping shot.

And sitting up in the grass, trying to eat a leaf...

And here's Madeleine, running to get her kite in the air... and then realizing that there's (1) there's no wind and (2) we're in the backyard and she's just running in circles.

Jumping, the movie

Next time I'll tape it the right way!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Movie Review: The Business of Being Born

I saw this documentary I had wanted to see called “The Business of Being Born.” There is a lot of fear instilled in women around birth. With Madeleine I was terrified and I did not know what to expect. With Everett I wanted it different, on my terms.

My birthing experience with Madeleine was in a hospital where I received an epidural. I did not like the way that the epidural made me feel and after learning about a friend who used a doula (labor support), I decided to try a more natural route with Everett. I had a wonderful experience and really was amazed at how little pain there was having Everett with no drugs at all.

In my experience when the body is allowed the do its thing, gradually, then the pain is more bearable. If we decide to have a 3rd child I would love to use a midwife in a birthing center.

This was said by an OB doctor in the film: “For a normal, low risk woman it is overkill to go to a doctor. It's too much. An OB is a trained surgeon, we are not trained in normal births.”

When I was pregnant with Everett I asked my doctor about using a doula and she really discouraged me. I asked her if she had ever witnessed a natural birth and she said rarely! Has your doctor witnessed a natural, live birth? My OB was seriously astonished when I wanted to have a natural delivery. She warned me that the nurses would naturally put the stir ups in the bed like they would do for an epidural birth. Normal has changed in America. Very few doctors have attended a natural, no drug, birth.

70% of births in Europe and Japan are attended by midwives. 8% in United States are attended by midwives.

The United States has the 2nd worst newborn death rate in the developed world. Do we have more high risk women? The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among all industrialized countries. When births went into the hospital, midwives did not go there with them.

In 1990, 95% of births in the United States took place at home. In 1938, half of all births took place at home. By 1955, less than 1% of births took place at home. It remains that number today.

The hospital is set up for one kind of birth and that involves pitocin. 90% of patients are on pitocin to speed things up, to facilitate things. The hospital is trying to get the bed emptied and with pitocin an epidural is needed.

People don’t have the information. I remember reading “The Red Tent,” where I learned about how women in biblical times would have their babies squatting. Lying down is not natural or normal. It makes the pelvis smaller.

Since 1996 the Cesarean section rate has risen 46%. In 2005 1 out of every 3 births was Caesarean section. Peak C-section times are 4pm and 10pm. Are the doctors trying to make it home?

I highly recommend that you watch “The Business of Being Born.” After I watched the movie I realized that more time was spent on my baby registry then on preparing for how I would bring my baby into this world.

Inspiration from fellow clergywomen

Yesterday the North Texas Conference Clergywomen met together. I love the new format of our meetings. We go around the circle sharing joys and concerns. Then two clergywomen (who had been previously asked) share their story about how they were called into ministry. I always learn something new from these stories and it makes me think of my own story and how God has worked in the past and continues to work. Then someone shares a Bible study. Each time the Bible study is so unique. Last time we did formational Bible study (as opposed to informational Bible study) where we looked at the story of the raising of Lazarus and talked in small groups about how God has brought us new life. We talked about how that particular Bible study had formed us and how God can continue to form us and speak to us through the story. This time we watched an incredible video. This video was rich with insight and I keep thinking about it's message. It is titled "Celebrate what's right with the world" and narrated by Dewitt Jones, a photographer from National Geographic. Guess how much the video costs? $795!

I keep thinking about the message from the weaver in Scotland, when you weave, weave. When I am with the children, be with the children. When I am at church, be at church. Be in the moment, in the present moment. Right now the only time in my day when I am in the moment successfully is when I am swimming laps in the pool at the gym. My sister and I go swim for 30 minutes and all I am thinking about is swimming, doing the next lap, getting the next breath. (This could be because I am out of shape...) Anyway, I recommend that you watch this video as well!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What a night!

Tonight I was invited to attend the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award gala where First Lady Laura Bush was the recipient. What a night! There were 1000 people (lots of Methodists) at the Hilton Anatole and the entire evening was very well done. The food was delicious and the presentations were great. Ray Hunt did a great job as the emcee and they included videos from family members and friends congratulating her. One of the First Lady's college friends talked about how the First Lady spoke on TV after 9/11 encouraging us to turn off the TV and reassure our children that even though there were bad people in the world, there were many, many good people in the world as well. I remember the First Lady doing that and I remember the amazing amount of respect that I had for her. She spoke tonight as well and she was eloquent and was beautiful. She really did look good! Everyone was also gifted with a children's book that Laura and Jenna Bush have written (it isn't in the book stores yet), I can't wait to read it to Madeleine.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pro sitter

Everett turned 6 months old yesterday and is becoming a pro sitter! Standing is next...

The Kite Runner

What a movie! The story was amazing, the movie was gorgeous and I loved seeing Afghanistan and learning about what the country used to be like. Highly recommend this one! I didn't read the book, but Lee highly recommends the book as well. The director is also directing the new James Bond movie...

A gorgeous day outside!

Today was gorgeous outside! Lee set up the bounce house and Kristin brought Sydney over to bounce with Madeleine. The boys enjoyed the grass, and Everett loved rolling over on his blanket. It was 79 degrees and sunny!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Madeleine playing with the baby toys...

Here is Madeleine, dressed in her tinkerbell costume playing in Everett's exersaucer. Madeleine thought it was so funny, but then she couldn't get out by herself!

Here's the tinkerbell outfit complete with wings!

I want milk!

Everett got his first taste of food today, rice cereal. Because I create skinny children, the doctor had asked us to wait until Everett was 6 months old before we started giving him anything other than milk from mommy (higher in calorie than food). So, tonight was the night! (Everett will be 6 months on April 5)... The verdict is still out...

White Men Can't Jump

Or Can They???
(For those uninitiated, Everett is jumping in his jumper that is placed in a door frame)

Watch out Girls, here comes a heart breaker!!!