Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Blast from my Childhood Past

My friend Nancy posted some Halloween pictures from her childhood, you know the time when most of us wore costumes thrown together by our parents out of stuff they had in their closets and pantries.  It made me want to go and see if I could find any pictures from my Halloweens in my Past.  I found a couple and I hope you enjoy them
 This year our mom dressed me and my sister Jo up like smurfs.  I sort of get a kick out of the fact that our faces are not blue but our hats are.  So technically we were reverse smurfs, but you know one of the joys of being a 1980's kid is this totally would fly.  We are wearing stockings on our heads and our dad's white t-shirts and at least in my case I'm totally happy.  I think Jo probably was fine as soon as our mom picked her up.  Also try and get a close up on my makeup.  I'm pretty sure my nana had to put that together.  Anyway ever used to watch that Drew Carry show with mimi?
 Here is another 1980's classic.  The plastic costume with the plastic mask.  Good grief those things got so sweaty!  But you know we were totally happy.  I was little red riding hood.  I'm pretty sure I wore that costume the next three years but I'd have to call my mom to be sure. 

Here was one of my personal favorite costumes.  I was Cleopatra this year.  I'd have to ask my mom if this was a dress or a sheet.  Throw on a gold belt, a necklace, and another gold belt and you are ready to go.  This costume is particularly awesome because I was eight or nine in this pic and this year when my daughter is eight almost nine she's going to be Cleopatra as well.  Stayed tuned to see pics of that. My sister's were princesses.  I'm pretty sure they are wearing mom mom's dresses and shoes.  She made those princess hats with cardboard and some tulle.  Can we just take a moment to admire how awesome they look.  Why have I not done one of those for my girls yet?  My baby sister was a basket of dirty laundry :)
My final selection was big baby.  I put on a dress I had from when I was five and put a baby nipple on a water bottle.  I'm pretty sure I'm like eleven here and this is probably the last year I went trick-or-treating.  I remember walking around with some friends and our parents.  I think Jo is a strawberry.  I love her little leaf hat.  Ang was a genie.  Costumes I wish I had pictures of, one year I went as a girl from a Mascaraed ball.  I wore one of my mom's purple dresses and a mask.  Another year I went as Athena.  Pretty sure that was also just a sheet and a gold belt but my mom mad me a bow, arrows, and a quiver and I LOVED IT!  I also know somewhere I have a picture of me dressed up as Mother Earth.  That was also a sheet and my mom draped house plants on me.  It sound totally silly but in the 90's you could totally get away with costumes like that.  The years I was thirteen I went as a bride and that year I know I went to a girl/boy party instead of trick or treating.  Somewhere in my mountain of boxes I know I have a picture of that as well.  Maybe someday I will get around to finding it! 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Baptism Planning Conclusion

Did anyone even care how this ended?  Sometimes I wonder if the small dramas that are my life will even matter to me in a few years from now or if they mean anything to anyone else, but for a few weeks this was in the forefront of my mind.  I talked with J several times before Gigi's bishop interview.  He basically told me that I was right, while it is possible for him to take a day off in an emergency situation the most dangerous time for patients is when the doctors first switch over because they are playing catch up and getting oriented.  Of course the steak baptismal days fall right in the middle of J's work week so to have him take off for that one day would bring a new doctor in and then he'd come back again and it would be like a new day for him, it just isn't great for continuity of care.  This of course just made me worry more and more.  Finally the day of Gigi's interview came.  J was actually home so he took G to the appointment while I took Captain E to scouts.  When I got home I asked J how it had gone and he said, "Oh it was no problem.  I just told him I wanted to baptize her at Thanksgiving when we go home to see our family and he said, no problem."  Guys I honestly wanted to scream.  I later talked with my mom about it and she told me that my talk with him before probably lead to the yes later because he thought about it and then decided to be a little more lenient but that isn't how it felt to me.  It felt to me like he didn't have any time to listen to me, especially since when he brushed me off he told me he'd talk to J about it and they could work it out, but that he just gave J what he wanted.  I've struggled with this for a few weeks now.  I want to be happy because I got what I wanted.  I mean in the end that is what matters right.  Gigi will get baptized before her year deadline.  We will get to do it around family when it is more convenient for everyone.  That's what matters.  I tell myself this over and over again but the fact that it couldn't be resolved for me and could so easily be resolved for my husband, well it just bugs me.

At the beginning of this month my church held it's biannual conference.  It was sort of a big deal.  Three of the quorum of the twelve had passed away during the previous three months so we were going to get three new general authorities.  I wish I could explain in a way that wouldn't offend anyone why I was so hopeful that at least one of them would be from another country or would be a person of color.  I have actually been praying about this since Elder Bednar and Elder Uchtdorf were called ten years ago, although I was thrilled that Elder Uchtdorf was from another country.  But then Elder Cook, Elder Christofferson, and Elder Andersen were called and I started to think it was never going to happen.  Then three apostles died in the same six months, which was really sad, but really upped the chances, or so I thought.  I laughingly told J before conference started, look I'm not even asking that they call a Hispanic, African, Asian, shoot anyone with an accent or from another country would suffice.  It sounds petty right, to want to see someone as one of the main leaders of your church who has similar skin and hair to yourself but maybe it just sounds petty if you've spent your whole life looking at people who looked just like you.  There is something about seeing someone who looks like you that helps you feel a little better, especially when you know a couple times a year you are going to choke back a little sob as you read your kids scriptures about dark people who were cursed during family scripture study or that you are going to have to explain to your children why blacks didn't get the priesthood until 1978 or sort of more shockingly were unable to marry in the temple and receive the blessing of an eternal family, a fact that even after the release of essays "explaining it all" you are pretty sure has more to do with racism than anything else.  I realize that in the US my church is 86% white and when you look at our wards here and our leadership you get a pretty strong feeling that this is a US western white church, but the facts are that actually more of the church membership now exist in the rest of the world than it does in the US and the countries where it has grown the most are Hispanic countries .  I actually read somewhere that by 2010 they estimated that Hispanics would make up the largest demographic in the LDS church.  I'm pretty sure that has happened but to look around here in the US you'd never guess.  There are tons of members from other countries, many not sharing anglo saxon backgrounds.  Almost half of Tonga is LDS as well as a third of Somao.  Mexico and Brazil alone each have over a million members, Chile 1/2 a million, the Philippines another 1/2 a million.  Guatemala has more members than the UK or Canada and some of the fastest growing LDS missions currently are in Africa.  Well it wasn't a Hispanic guy that was called or a guy from Africa or even a guy with an accent.  It was three more white guys from American, and you know they weren't even from different states, it was three more Utah guys.  Two went to the U of U.  One went to BYU.  One was a doctor (his wife is actually pretty awesome).  Two were businessmen.  They have all done a lot of service in the church.  They all seem like great guys.  They are all good speakers and I'm not denying any of that, but really, three more Utah born and raised White Guys.  It almost felt like after they were called if you complained at you got criticized for acting like you knew more than God, because "obviously God wouldn't call people just to be politically correct".  But you know sometimes it's not about being politically correct, sometime it is just that you want some proof for yourself that you and your people matter, that this truly is a global church.  That God actually cares and is aware of the global part of his church, that he realizes that there are plenty of people like me who just want to see a familiar face, and just want to know that the part about brown skin equaling sin or being a curse, well that is baloney.  Surly he can find a good guy who has done lots of service who looks like me right?  Surly that matters somewhere?  And you know what, differing opinions and outlooks can be amazing.  I know a lot of people in the US feel like the new Pope is a liberal pawn completely forgetting that he is actually a religious leader of a global church not predominantly in the US but guys he is seriously amazing.  What would Jesus Christ look like and what would his mission be like if he were to come to Earth now, well guys I'm not kidding, it would be Pope Francis.  Sometimes getting a little different spin on things can be awesome.

But I'm just some mom in some small western town and my opinion and hopes on this don't really matter, but let's get back to my family, a place where my opinion and hopes and dreams really do matter.  In this same conference there was this talk, "A Plea to My Sisters," by Russell M. Nelson.  There is a lot of this talk that is nice but there was a part when I rolled my eyes.  The quote was, "My dear sisters, whatever your calling, whatever your circumstances, we need your impressions, your insights, and your inspiration. We need you to speak up and speak out in ward and stake councils."  I wish instead of this that he would have said, "My dear Brothers, listen up."  I have never had a problem speaking up in my life, but I have definitely had a problem being heard, even when it is about something so personal as my own family.  If J weren't around to go to bat for our family I don't know that this would have been resolved in our favor, but then again I guess if J weren't around then I wouldn't have found it impossible to get her baptized on a Children of Record day...oh life.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ray Goes For A Ride

When I was a young pregnant first time mom I found myself in the capable hands or Ray Spooner the only male midwife at Carle Hospital in Urbana, Illinois.  It was sort of by chance.  I'd wanted to have the most natural birth possible to me and Carle hospital had six midwives who rotated through.  Each visit you would visit with a new midwife and then on the day of your delivery whomever was on call would deliver you.  All of the midwives were quite capable and most were very nice but very quickly Ray became my favorite.  He was a soft spoken Englishman with long hair all the way down his back.  He would tell me stories about his children, his lay midwife wife Rae, his hobbies, his travels, and because my husband was a medical student we often talked about health policy.  I still remember the last visit we had with him before Captain E was born.  He turned to us and said, "Go out to the movies and get a dinner.  Your life is about to change forever but nothing you can do will bring it any faster or slower so just enjoy these last few days you have just the two of you."  In the years I knew Ray that was always his way.  Things are going to happen like they are going to happen and we all should just enjoy the ride as it comes.  Captain E's birth was nothing like the natural, beautiful calm birth I had hoped for or imagined.  Far from what my birthing books had explained labor was extremely painful and with E it lasted what felt like forever.  The first midwife on call spent the day with us but when E's labor went into day two Ray came on.  He had a calming effect and I remember he spent quite a bit of time just rocking in the rocking chair in my room waiting for things to progress on their own.  At 36 hours though I was emotionally and physically exhausted.  As I sobbed through the contractions I remember Ray saying that it wouldn't be a failure to get an epidural.  Ray guided plenty of my friends through beautiful natural births and that was always his preference if it was yours but I really appreciated that when it became an impossibility for me he kindly guided me a different direction.  Once the deed was done he continued to rock in the chair.  We watched country western music videos, he talked quietly with my mother and sister and we all made bets on when we thought this baby would finally make his appearance.  Two and a half hours later E finally appeared.  Ray handed him over and like that we became new parents.  I remember my mom commenting later that it was impossible not to like Ray because his quiet voice forced you to lean toward.

Captain E was the only baby I had the pleasure of delivering with Ray but I saw him many times during my pregnancies with Gigi and Peach.  With my first visit with Gigi I was bleeding and I remember being worried I was losing the pregnancy.  Somehow the clinic lost that I was suppose to be seen and after waiting there almost two hours with the clinic nearing closing time they realized their mistake and squeezed me in to see Ray right before he left.  I had toddler Captain E along with me and I cried while I explained the situation.  Ray quickly got up and left the room.  When he returned he had an internal ultrasound machine.  Explaining the whole process to toddler E he quickly had Gigi on the screen.  "Look at your baby's heart beating," he said, "You are not going to lose this baby."  From that moment on my loyalty to Ray was sealed and I saw my visits to him as those of seeing an old friend rather than a health care professional.  His visits were always so laid back, full of funny stories, and he was so much more relaxed than the other midwives I always preferred him.  When the opportunity to go to Jordan pregnant arose I consulted with him first.  "Travel," he told me and he filled the appointment with stories of his own time in Israel.

When we left Urbana I was forced to find new health care options.  I've always chosen midwives because of Ray but I've never found one quite like him and yet life marches on and while normally you forget those you don't see at least once or twice a year my husband and I will reminisce about something Ray had said or done for us.  Then just this last month a friend who still lives in Urbana posted a story about Ray.  It turns out that he has ALS.  It is traveling so fast that he can no longer practice and has retired so that this month he can take a cross country bike ride across the United States because his doctor doesn't think he will have enough function to do it if he doesn't go now.  Ray Spooner is no longer practicing medicine.  His gifted hands, his healing soul will no longer be felt by the woman who visit Carle Hospital, and his soft voice will no longer be the first sound heard by new spirits entering this world.  His calming presence will be a great loss to Carle, to Urbana Champaign, and eventually and especially I'm sure to his family and friends.  This is a great man who chose a small town in Illinois to make the place of his life's work and he touched so many lives in the process.  My prayers and love go to him and his family.  This video explains a little bit about his new goal and this page links to his fundraiser.      

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