Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fresh Fish

 Our daily vegetables and fruits come from the local market.  On occassiona we also find that we need to buy some meat at the market.  For sure if we buy fish we always buy it at the market.  Everything from shell fish to octipus is available, but you must arrive at the right time.  Either 4:00am or 4:00pm for the freshest catch.  The fish can be scaled and cut or uncut and you buy by the kilo.

These catches were fresh...they were just unloading their trucks and laying out their catches for the buying.  They really looked so gorgeous.  This is the real fishing life.  They really do live from catch to catch!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Uncle Frank.  Ya, he's my favorite.  Especially when cousin Leo joins in.  They are a good team.  If things get real stressful at any point Aunt IV is real quick to jump in and give a boost!  If all else fails and things need a little rest, well, cousin Trendelenburg is a good one.  Everything can be managed better when he's around.

Family reunion?  Not quite.  This is the little picture that made me laugh while thinking through complications in birth.  Frank, well, that's the best kind of breech with the least amount of risk.  Leo...Leopold's maneuvers are used for palpation of the baby in-utero.  IV, well, if you've ever been sick (or surgery) enough to be admitted to the hospital you've most likely experienced one of these. They are wonderful things though that make treatment and care sooo much easier ad quicker.  Trendelenburg, well, it isn't a place, it's a position.  This position puts ones rear end up in with the head down.

Oh, usually birth is ok.  It is a normal process created by God and is usually a moment to praise Him for His creativity and goodness.  Yet, we all know this world is a place of suffering and sometimes things just don't go as planned.  So, one must always prepare for the worst.

Thinking of birth trauma's also makes me think of life.  Sometimes our lives just don't go the way we planned or we're seeking a little respit for healing and refreshment, yet it's just one thing after another.  We know God has a plan.  And, it may be that through the tears, the hurt, the trials, we just hang on and hope in Whom we know we can hope that there is good in store.

There are a couple people serving with us here that are going through some pretty major trials.  We all know them, it seems to be a reminder in the moments that life seems to good that it's not forever and it really isn't good...but we do have a hope of eternity!!

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials." 1 Peter 1:3-6

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Like shattered glass...a broken view

"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—" - Romans 5:12

Come on a journey with me, if you please.  Imagine that you are a health care provider and you've done all you can possibly do, but the situation is not improving.  Stop there for just a minute.  Back up, just a little to remember your heart in what you do.  You've been given a passion for healing, for restoration, for life.  This passion is not just a passing trend, rather it's been passed down to you as a legacy from your Father, a gift, His passion is also life, abundant life.  Back to the current situation. 

Your working hard to preserve two lives.  One seems that it will improve momentarily and it's possible to continue supporting her life.  The other one, the one that is so little and needs so much because, well, it's just arrived and can't help itself, seems to be fading before your eyes.  Yet, there is more help to give and the whole situation becomes joyful in just a moment.  This would be the birth that you just assisted with.  There were a few tention filled moments just after the baby came out, then all was well.  Oh, what an amazing, incredible, miraculous event to witness time and time again.  Life.

Now, continue on through your morning.  You have patients coming back for their postnatal check ups.  This is usually a time of joy as you check over the growing baby, support and encourage the new mother and sometimes the father.  You laugh at some of the cultural traditions and sometimes have to lay down reality in the face of tradition passed on from generations that isn't really helpful for the life of the mother or baby.  Such is life, but it's good.  

This morning that baby check isn't the case.  The mom contacted you the previous night to say that her baby was turning red and blue.  You advise her for home monitoring and to come in as soon as possible or go directly to the hospital as you can only go with what she is texting you.  She arrives early the next morning.  You can hear the baby before you see him and know that something must be done immediately for his blocked, heavily congested airway.  Deep suctioning is performed and you hurry away on a transport to the hospital.  As if  your heart wasn't heavy enough at watching this little life fail, it's about to get heavier.

What you find makes your heart break.  In the very place where you have gone to seek help to sustain life you find apathy and death.  You carry this precious, struggling little life in your arms only to walk by sickness that eats away at people's very life leaving them corpses of hopelessness.

That was my dear friend this morning.  She is a midwife.  Sometimes there are midwives who don't like hospitals, but in truth, there is a place for them and the care they offer.  We have disagreements, just like every field of medicine (have you asked how a surgeon would deal with a situation versus a therapist?  Ya, pretty different!), but we do rely on them in a healthy chain of giving the best care to patients.  Unfortunately, what she was met with this morning was overwhelming.  She was absolutely overcome with the severity of death, especially where it seems there should be healing.

My friend took her precious, gasping baby to the hospital and was overcome by the struggling, and occasionally lifeless bodies around her and the apparent lack of concern from the staff or even just available staff (please know, i'm sure that they care and are probably often overcome by the pure volume and the difficulties they have in trying to meet demand...imagine daily triage, so NO disrespect to them at all.)

The feeling that comes is utter helplessness and a reminder of the reality that this life is filled with death. Oh, sometimes we can see death as a sort of poetic doorway and be comforted that for those walking the path of Life it is only the beginning, but often there is nothing beautiful or poetic about it and it may be filled with hopelessness if they don't know He who gives Life.  It's a hard path to walk when those who you have sought for further help aren't sufficient.

Praise the Lamb for the life He gives, oh share it freely!  And, if you know people in the health care profession pray for them.  Lift up their patients (even though you may not know them) to the Great Physician.  Life is precious and not just this life here and now, but the life to come!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Of Justice and Birth

Hello!  Oh, it's been a while since there's been an entry on here. Sorry, no that your sitting on the edge of your seat for the next post, but maybe it's a little hard to keep up with someone when they never post.  True that!

Today, on the way to shift my friend said she was just, "writing a blog in her head."  This actually came up because I had texted her when her car drove by instead of stopping to pick me up!  She graciously and quickly turned around and did give me a lift.  haha.  We were laughing and she was just saying how she was writing a blog post in her head, and thus lost in thought and driving auto-pilot.  That made me think....blogging.  Hmmm, that's a fun thing to do, in fact i used to do that!  So, here's the blog post that is a little story of today and a window into the daily life.

This morning shift was crazy!  There were three of us on shift who could catch.  We go in order depending on your last birth, so I was third up.  Initially it was rather quiet.  We had postpartum patients in various stages of postpartum.  Some waiting to pay and go home, some needing a baby bath, then go home...yup, various stages.

Then, Salem, my friend who was talking about the blog, she got a labor!  Woo-hoo.  She checked her in and found out she was fully and her patient gave birth shortly there after!! :) That was just the start to the shift...then Brenda got a patient, then I got a patient, then Brenda caught a baby who was almost born in a taxi, then...well, it was just so busy.  In summation: Salem caught 2 babies, Brenda caught 1 and had a labor, and I had 2 labors.

What does justice have to do with this?  Well, sometimes woman are positively wonderful to work with and be with during their labor, some woman are just, well, it can be a character polishing experience...and some, they are just trying.  That "trying" patient for me is usually the one that challenges my ability.  Yes, they make me wonder if I know what in the world I've learned or seen!

Today I had one such patient (the first one who was there the longest!)  She was almost fully dilated, but was not dilating symmetrically, so she labored in hands and knees.  The difficulty was what i felt was an inability to communicate with her and how hard it was to read her.  The contractions are apparent, but she wanted to push so early on, which was expected, but so hard as the midwife to know how best to support her and when to really support her to push when her baby really needed to descend a while. ("a while" that's a very Filipino phrase...our English is greatly effected here.)

Here's where the justice comes in.  Towards the end of shift she was becoming progressively more pushy, but was tired and had a small potential for being transported.  In preparation for the next shift and to help her with tiredness (before it became exhaustion) I inserted an IV.  At this point it was apparent that the bana (husband...boyfriend) was a little frustrated that she hadn't delivered yet.  Oh, it was slight, so slight, but it opened up in me a well that poured forth a need for justice  I looked at him and said, "YOU must support her.  Her work is hard.  She is working so hard and is progressing normally, so YOU must support her." Oh, what used to be a slight frustration with my patient became such a passion for her justice that she would receive the support, encouragement, and love she deserved as a laboring woman.  She really was doing excellent.

Justice hasn't been something that has always been on my heart, well, maybe in the negative.  We can all think about personal and inpersonal situations of injustice, probably especially within the "Justice System".  Hmmm, but there is positive justice.  In fact, it is an attribute of our Heavenly Father.  He cares for justice.  When we want justice, though sometimes it's our injured ego, often it is a reflection of our desire for the perfection that can only come from God.  Know Him.  Seek after Him and seek His justice.

"He loves righteousness and justice;

The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord."

Psalm 33:5

"For the Lord loves justice,

And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off."

Psalm 37:28

"A bruised reed He will not break,

And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;"

Matthew 12:20

P.S. this patient did deliver shortly after the swing shift came on...haven't heard the whole story yet, but no doubt it will be good!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to Justine Kurt!!  3450 g (7lbs. 10oz) and 54cm long.  He's pretty cute!

His parents were great all throughout labor!  It was a great 1st catch to start off this new year!  Thank you Jesus.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The new year has begun!  Once again, the LORD gave me much favor throughout my travels.  What initially appeared as a hassle with my bag being overweight (actually our fault for mis-reading the website) in the end was a blessing.  In Manila they only allow 7k for the carry on bag.  We almost packed it with 20 lbs more due to the weight in the very beginning.  However, we didn't and it worked perfectly in the end!  God's hand.

My flights, though each was slightly delayed went smoothly.  Only one was completely full.  In fact, on  one flight the entire row was empty, so I slept very well on that flight!  :D  It rained the whole way and continues to be a little rainy here, but no complaints considering that is keeping things a little cooler.

It's great to be back for sure.  Yet, my heart was sad to leave my dear family and friends.  My heart was also troubled with fears of this upcoming year,  "What if it's too much?  Will I burn out?  What about failure?"  (just the inevitable thoughts after leaving such a different world) So, my heart was turned to pouring out to my dear LORD.  He reminded me of His faithfulness and goodness, that my expectation is in Him (Ps. 62:5-8), and of all His clear working for me to be here.  "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." -Philippians 1:6 (also 1 Thess. 5:24).  Praise the LORD.  

And, the LORD gave me one more verse to remind me, again, and humble me, also again!  
"There are four things which are little on the earth,
But they are exceedingly wise:
The ants are a people not strong,
Yet they prepare their food in the summer;
The rock badgers are a feeble folk,
Yet they make their homes in the crags;
The locusts have no king,
Yet they all advance in ranks;
The spider skillfully grasps with its hands,
And it is in kings’ palaces."
-Proverbs 30:24-28

He gives gifts and has a different value and view than we, in our human weakness place on things.  He's my strength, and my joy and my song!  Amen? We are each created for a purpose and we will certainly fulfill it because of Him.

That's the summary for the moment.  The first shift I will work in on Thursday for an outreach (Talikala to the prostitutes).  Lovely.  In the meantime, there is much adjustment back into the Philipines.  The culture, standing out as a "puti" or white person, time difference, food differences....  and yet, it's all familiar.  There was no need to change money, it was relatively easy to speak with the taxi driver, settling in before bed only required unpacking a suitcase, not setting up shop!  (and of course, i'll have to watch some Olympics online!)

On this year shall go with Yaweh Nissi, the LORD is my banner!  And all ya'all for my support with many prayers and great encouragement.  

Blessings to you all!

Friday, July 20, 2012


Oh, my.  Time has really flown.  If you've heard or read it once, then you know just how true Eccelesiastes 3 is.  To everything there really is a time.  This is true, even with this month almost over (and it's so hard to believe) everything has had it's place and it's season.  Some planned and some unplanned.

For those of you with whom we crossed paths, it was WONDERFUL. (even phone calls)  For those of you that it didn't work out this time, next year.  :)   All in good time.

This time has been filled with so much conversation of the Lord's work.  He is always at work among His people.  He is jealous for His name and displays His glory in so many ways in both foreign fields and home fronts.  What an inexplicable life that we live to know God and be loved by Him.

To summarize this past year in writing, it's been challenging for sure, yet, these challenges have allowed for new vision and to deepening my Faith.  The LORD clearly is watching over the needs of the fatherless as many of the mothers we see are single, or are having a child with their boyfriend, who is currently present, but the future is unknown.  Working 4 shifts a week is a new physical challenge, but it's doable, especially when we can all encourage one another.  So good.

Anyway, here's a few points of prayer for this upcoming Year, 2012-2013:
- Continued Language Learning (Visayan)
- There is a NEW team coming in!
- For the work at the clinic; especially recognizing postpartum depression
- Continued health through this next year
- Continued capacity to be ready to learn new things
- Always being ready to share Christ in word (even if another language) and deed
- Higher clinical expectations

And, there never was a list of things that I would be refilling on  (sorry), but for future reference (Holiday Season....  :))  if you want some ideas:
- Baby clothes (hats, blankets, mittens, and booties)
- Chocolate (dark is the best! nuts and dried fruits are ok too)
- Letters and Cards
- anything that's just plum fun! :)  (Desi can be a good resource too!)

Blessings to you all!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


It is so amazing and weird to be back in the United States.  Reverses Culture shock, as it's been called, is a whole new ball of wax. Wow.  It can certainly blind side one.  None the less, other than a funny incident.

The bathrooms here.  Well, you must understand.  In the Philippines, it is totally normal to have one urinal in the woman's bathroom.  Don't ask why, I don't know.  Anyway, at the airport in Detroit, while waiting for the plane it seemed prudent to avail of a CR (they are called restrooms here) before boarding.  So, i walked passed the men's entrance and walked into the woman's entrance which was much further passed the first entrance.  I glanced at the sign which both said "woman" and showed the supporting picture of a female stick figure.  Yeah, that's what I saw.

Walking into the said restroom, i noticed that infront of me was a urinal, but I honestly couldn't remember if that was normal or not.  So, i slowly walked into the stall while glancing back at the mirror to see who would walk out of a different stall.  The poor man...he affirmed this was indeed the men's room.  Gracious sakes.

One down for culture shock!  haha.  Thankfully, we didn't run into each other again.  :D  Whew.

This is some of what is such a shock:
- Tall people, especially guys
- White people, well, summer tans, but obviously white
- Space between the houses
- Open roads that are well kept up
- we are NOT close to the equator
- everyone speaks English...amazing
- There are trees everywhere, like tall, full leaves, no palm trees
- People, well, they just shout to each other in public!

Yup, that's a little taste of what's hitting the senses.  It's been super relaxing thus far too!  Living in A.C., being cooked for, laughing loads, sleeping pretty much whenever, just soaking up each day.  Ahhh.

Hopefully in a couple days, there will be a little list of some "re-stock" to take back to the Philippines.  For now, as mentioned, i'm just soaking up the each day.  It's sooo lovely.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Departure Day!

Good morning (at least here in the Philippines!)

It's 7:31am and in about 2 hours i'll be at the airport.  Which means, TODAY is the day to begin traveling back Stateside.  wow.  Here's some info on the trip, so you can just pray however the Lord leads you.

"Fun Facts"
- MD has no power currently (no pun intended)
- Flying there will take approximately 38 hours
- One night hotel stay in Manila
- Longest flight is from Tokyo to Atlanta
- It's probably the coldest morning in the Philippines and the hottest in MD

That's the basics!  God is so gracious for this opportunity to just relax and even to enjoy the flights.


"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." - Psalm 23:6

Friday, June 22, 2012

Catch #35.
Lots of welcome to Cris Paul!  DOB: 6/17/12 @ 6:42pm. 

He looks a little lonely here, but he's not really.  There was only time for a quick snapshot and I haven't seen them at any baby checks.  So, we'll assume they are doing well.

Catch #36.

Happy Birthday to Alexander!  DOB: 6/22/12 @ 8:55pm.
wt: 2850g Length: 49cm Cord Length: 38cm

His momma came in fully, so it was only a matter of minutes before he was born.  She did super well and he's looking healthy.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Birthday to June Mark!  He was born on June 15, 2012 at 7:42am.  

The labor was sure work, but she was only at the clinic for about 3hours before he was born!  :) And, she is my continuity patient. Praise the Lord, I was already scheduled to be on shift, so no extra time at the clinic.  She's only 16 years old and her bana (boyfriend) is 22 years old.

Thank you Lord for such a good birth!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Catch #33

Welcome Kent!  3100g (6lbs 14 oz.), 52 cm long.  Born June 12, 2012 at 8:53am.  

His momma is just precious.  She only pushed for a few minutes, then delivered this sweet babe!  Congratulations to the proud mom and dad!  What a blessing on day shift!

Catch #32

Congratulations!  This is my sweet continuity patient and her precious little baby boy!  Delivered on June 7, 2012 at 2:43pm.  

Just this past September I delivered her sister's baby.  So, one night, a text came from her asking if I would be her sister's midwife!  Wow, what an invitation.  I excepted and was so very blessed. Here she is, Mary Grace and her precious baby boy!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Catch #31

Grab a hanky or a tissue and take a seat.  This is a precious story, that, well, it almost brought me to tears, but it definitely touched my heart deeper than any other birth!

Yesterday my shift was swing, from 2-10pm.  It was quiet except for one girls continuity patient (cont).  Then, just before 2:00 a labor walked in reporting BOW rupture at 12:30pm.  She was checked in by day shift and endorsed to us on swing.  I was first up!

Upon reviewing her chart there were two things that stood out.  The first was that an ultrasound had been requested back in March, but no report made and no copy of the ultrasound was anywhere to be found in her chart.  Second was that since her second visit (of five visits) her fundal height had not matched her gestational age (GA) by anywhere from 5-7 cm.  Quite odd.  So, i just asked, "Gang, Na'ay ang ultrasound?"  "Oo." (yes) was the reply.  Oh, "Can i have it?"  This was, hopefully a good sign, except nothing was really going for her.

She was already BOW rup, thus on a 12 hour time limit before we would be required to transport...she was only 2cm and a G1 (her first baby).  She was 70% effaced though, so that was in her favor.  Not in her favor, either was the continued discrepancy between current gestational age of 39 weeks and fundal height of 34cm.  Hmmm.  My gut was feeling a transport.

According to LMP (Last Menstruation) she was 39 weeks, according to the ultrasound she was 36 weeks.  Hmmm....  Normally we transport, unless they are 37 weeks.  We had a little problem though, we had made a little intervention.  Castor Oil.  This can help labor progress well and because she was 39 weeks and BOW Rup, this was good management.

So, my supervisor continued to struggle with the best choice.  We will give better care, but if the baby really is little, then we will have to transport.  Her fundal height was still small, even for 36 weeks...  still, she was stalling.  What's the best option.  At least she would see her little baby if it was born here.

She began getting active, so we prepared for birth.  Within about 20 minutes her little man was born.  Her bana had gone home at some point and was still not present, but we had a lovely time!  Her baby was sooo little.

Please pray for and welcome Robert Gabriel, 2000g (4lbs 7oz) length: 49cm

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Of Clusters and Moves

Just a little update from life, apart from babies.  Though, i do love them and they are a very integral part of living here, there is much else that goes on.  Mostly, just common place, regular ol', garden variety living. So, here's sharing some of that "mundane" living with you (actually it's quite exciting to me - because Jesus, well, He prepares it for me each day!)

1. Granola with clusters.  For those of you who love granola, we all know everyone has a preference.  Some like the big clusters of oats, while some prefer individual little toasted oats covered in sugary goodness.  I am a cluster fan.  However, in making my own, it has been an almost life long pursuit to create such clustery goodness in my own kitchen.  The result has been many recipes and "tips and tricks" over the years.  Finally one who had the key to such joys...

Can you see it?  Clusters!  The secret?  Well, it wouldn't be a secret if you knew.  Just kidding!  There are two important components: No.1 there should be a mix of oats, regular and quick cooking.  The ratio of quick cooking to regular should be such that there are more quick cooking to regular.  Got it?  
No.2 Heat up the syrup (whether you are making a syrup or using pre-made) to boiling. No.3 when stirring while cooking, gently fold.  This stirring should not break up the clusters.

Mmmm.  So good.  (Thanks to my friend Krys for the secret!!)

2. "When Helping Hurts" by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.  So, i'm not really very far into the book (still need to finish the first chapter), but based on the forward and the preface, this is a GREAT book and well worth the time to read it.  It could also be easily used in a group setting.  

Thus far a favorite challenge from the book (summarized), "How do you interpret James 1:27?" It's real practical, real practical.

Sorry it's sideways...  

3. We moved!  Actually twice.  The house myself and the other volunteers have been in for the past 9 months is no longer our residence.  While those were conveniently close to the clinic, it is absolutely fantastic to be home, like away, when we are home.  Ahhh.  It's about a 20 minute walk (or 12-15 minute walk if really walking fast) or one jeepney ride.

The second move?  Two of the girls and myself are house sitting for a family who are home on furlough at the moment.  We will be here from just a month.  It is even further away from the clinic, but it's lovely to have some rest...of course, we spend a little more time in transit and do not really have the option to walk...that would take a good hour or more!  It is great thought and the neighborhood is pretty quiet.

That's our kitchen, no pics from the outside, but ya, that's the kitchen!

So, that's it.  Just a little catch up.  

Catch #30

Happy Birthday Princess Mae!  Born on May 23, 2012 at 5:30 am.  

May the Lord keep you and shine His face upon you Princess Mae and guide you through your life that you might know Him.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Catch #29

This was the only labor on night shift.  She was great.  This labor was the second in a row of having a cervical lip throughout labor, which greatly prolonged labor.  She changed positions frequently to try and alleviate the pressure from the lip.  Finally we did have to give some extra support.  About an hour and a half later her precious baby was born.

Congratulations to this proud Sibay family!!
5/16/12 @ 2:48am

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Catch #28

Happy Birthday to Dhainney Rujane!!
5/13/12 at 8:53am 
2900 g (6lbs. 6oz.), 55cm long

Happy Mother's day to Rujane!  Proud momma of two and wife of one. :)  Blessings!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

3000g (6lbs. 10lz.)
5.8.12 at 2:24am

Congratulations to his mother Dina for her precious little boy!  

If you remember them pray for them!  She is no longer with the baby's father, but now will join the many young, single mothers.  She lives with her older sister and although she will continue to nurture this baby needs to know the goodness of GOD for her.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Shout Out!

Just wanted to alert you to a new little spot on the side bar.  Remember a post a while back about "Outland Adventure"?  Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of the founders hands, Outland has had to shut it doors.  However, there is another aspect to it and that is a consultation business started by a friend of the McNeils.  So, do check out the side bar and link!  Thanks for looking.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Catches #25 & 26

Whoops!  My how time flies and birth stories really fly by.  There have been two stories since the last one. However, there won't be too many details, just a quick update!

Adelyn gave birth on April 13.  She came in and had not been able to alert her husband who was on duty that she was going to have her baby because she was out of load!  I texted for her, but he did not arrive until just after birth.  They were non for the worse and so excited for their precious baby boy.  The father's name is Joel, and it seems that they were wanting a similar name, so they chose Jowls Hetor.  I have no idea where that came from!  Gotta love the creativity in names.

Josie, pregnant with her second baby, labored a while and became more anxious to have her baby when another patient delivered before she did.  After her water broke she began making good progress.  Her precious baby girl was born at 8:42pm.  She is named Ellie Marie and weighed 3200g.

So, that's the short and sweet of the birth room.  I'll have a night shift tomorrow (Monday) and maybe there will be another story to tell after that...then again, you just never know with the birth room.

Blessings!  Thank you all so much for praying for these women and their babies.  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

of Kings and Priests

We all face challenges, do we not.  Sometimes amidst these times we can find moments to ponder and dregde the deeps of the situation, of our part, of our heart's attitude and of the heart of God.  Often for those in missions or otherwise being supported (many jobs in "the ministry", as we say) at some point the issue of funding arises, often from the get-go.  Yet, there are so many needs.

My friend just shared a wonderful vision.  Although we are most definitely priests forever in the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:6), you might also say that we are all given a priestly ministry or a kingly ministry.  The kings are those who support the ministry of the priests.

Those in a priestly ministry need not to fret though.  For the LORD is the one who raises kings, politically or otherwise!  In truth, God is Sovereign and it is all for His glory.  This is the best part because, hang on to your seat, while we work with each other and "depend" on each other, in truth, we depend on God.  The kings can be extravagant because we have an extravagant God and the priests can be without fear because God is for them, not against them.

Anyone read "Desiring God" by John Piper?  I'd suggest it, if your indeed of a read.  He doesn't actually address this (at least, not up to where I've read), but he does talk about God's Sovereignty.  It's very good as a devotional.  God is so, well, words just don't really express Him well enough.  His Word is the only one that comes close.

That's just a recent pondering as my heart and view of God is expanding unimaginably.

Blessings to you all!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Your Word

Just a few verses as food for thought and for the heart. ~Selah.

Psalm 33:11
"But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations."

Acts 17:28
"'For in Him we live and move and have our being.' As some of our own poets have said, 'We are His offspring.'"

Psalm 37:7 (actually, this is one of my favorite Psalms ever!)
"Be still before the LORD, wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes."

Psalm 89:15
"Blessed are the people who hear the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance."

Just a few for thought! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Catch #24

At 10:52am a precious little baby boy was born.  His mamma has already had 3 kids and did super!  She took me a litte by surprise, but no problems, just lots of joy and laughter.  When i left shift at 2:00p after moving them to the postpartum area and doing the newborn exam they still didn't have a name for him. It'll be a surprise.

Baby Boy 3000g (6lbs. 10oz)

Alma Jean, the precious mom and her sweet baby!

Catch #23

Announcing the first Ressurection Sunday baby here!  Peter Jr. was born at 2:35am on Sunday morning.  He is one of 4 other siblings.  So adorable.  He weighed 3150g (6lbs. 15oz.)

Peter Jr.

The night crew who brought in Sunday and welcomed Peter Jr.!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Catch #22

Just a quickie before too much more time passes. :) Catnisse was born on 3/26/12 at 9:59pm, just before endorsements.  Sometimes that just the way things go.  Her dear midwife who had been with her all day (she worked a double shift) was tired and in need of sleep.  I was first up, so I caught the baby.  The momma had been there almost all day except for one break to go get new labs (urinalysis and hemoglobin), so pretty much everyone that was there on shift piled into the double wide cubicle for the birth.  What a party!  Here are some pictures:

Such a sweet mamma and precious baby girl!

Rural Life Center

From March 19-23 four of the girls and I spent some time at a renewable farming technologies farm.  It's really pretty amazing stuff. The joy of seeing these technologies in action is thinking ahead to potentially putting some or all of them into practice one day in a foreign country.

 The short story of what we did: watched vermiculture in process and learned ways of implementation for various aspects of farming.  We looked at goat raising, which included milking, castrating, debudding, and of course, feeding and housing.  Finally we looked at small gardening utilizing composting in the same area with seed preservation.

There were many more areas to learn from then we had time to do!

The mountains! This farm is actually in the foot hills of Mt. Apo.

debudding! Cauterizing the buds of the horns.

Juni had rhythm like no body's business!

Vermiculture using rabbit maure.

And, a little gardening, but preparing the place for the compost first.
Of course we enjoyed spending time around the people who are running it (part of a Baptist Mission) and really enjoyed a break into the country.  Ahhh.  We did our fair share of sleeping as our bodies took the opportunity to really let down and relax.

Enjoy the pictures!!  Also, on the right hand side bar there is a blog called "The Silver Lining" she also went on this trip and has a good post about it.  I'd encourage you to check it out!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Catch #21

She did it!! My sweet little patient, Cherry had her precious baby boy at 4:20pm while i was working on swing shift.  Deandra weighed 3650g (8lbs 1oz).  She is so incredibly tender hearted and her husband (yes, they are truly married!)  It was a joy.  She delivered in hands and knees, for those labor gurus out there.  It was great!

Here's a few pics:

he really doesn't like the camera...

yup, Cherry, Carlo and Deadre.

Pics of #20

This is at the one day check!! Precious!

Isn't she CUTE?

So relaxed!

is that a hint of a smile?!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jane Mary

This morning at 4:35am a precious little girl was welcomed into this world.  She needed a little deep suctioning because of light meconium staining.  Her cry was strong and she had no trouble nursing well!  What a blessing.  Like her three siblings she weighed just 2740g (6 lbs. 1oz).  Her mom, well, she was dear.

Having had three kids and the last two labors being exceptionally short (30 minutes) she kept me on my toes for a good hour while i watched her labor.  Finally the moment came.  No more than one minute after her water breaking she was pushing and in just a couple minutes we met Jane Mary face to face.

Yup, she's a cutie!  Hopefully she'll come tomorrow and we'll get some snap shots!

P.S. Night shifts are starting to become a joy.  oh, i dont' love the thought of a night shift, but it isn't nearly the fearful thing it was 7 months ago!  Praise the Lord!

Sharing from Life Struggles

1 Corinthians 16:9 says, "...and you are not your own."  Do we understand this?  Do we know this?  I submit we do not!

We just heard a very honestly, very upfront testimony of the real trial of life.  Sometimes God opens doors and makes the paths and shows the way, then the path turns and the doors seem to close.  That has been very true for a family here.  They have had the rug pulled out from under them in two major areas.  Everything is not fixed, the damage is not repaired and the work of repairing what was broken is not done. Yet, the point of the testimony was to tell of God's faithfulness and His gift of faith.  Nothing has made sense yet, there are no apparent reasons given yet for why things have happened.  Yet, they have not lost heart in God, they know they can be grounded in Christ and that the Holy Spirit still is a comfort to them.  They testify, not to a perfect life, but to a Sovereign God whose love can be trusted even when His presence may not be felt as it once was.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Catch #19

The shift was relatively quiet.  There were two labors, both had been endorsed to the swing shift.  I had a busy day of seminars, which didn't leave me much time to be on shift early during the shift, but I was "on call."  No call, all was ok.  At 5:00pm I was "on shift".  There were still the two labors, each with their own complications, but attended by wonderful midwives!

It was about dinner time and as neither labor was particularly active, we took the opportunity to eat dinner. Mmm.  It was rice, filipino BBQ chicken, and steamed medley of veggies.  Mmmmm.  Just before finishing the last bite, a labor walked in.  She was mine!

I directed her to the bathroom (CR) to wash and pee.  As soon as she was done, she followed me to bed one...not my favorite, but that was what was available.  All her vitals were normal.  Although she had put down information for a bana (husbad/boyfriend) he wasn't there.  I inquired about him, but she said that they were no longer together.  Her aunt and mother were in attendance instead.

Unfortunately, her aunt was not as helpful as she had originally appeared to be.  She would encourage the patient to push "when you have pain."  Or, "Ok, i'll go get the other bantay (mother) so we can press on her stomach when she has pain/contraction."  Fundal pressure is very common here, especially for women who deliver at the hospital or in the mountain.

Well, after almost three hours of laboring from being 8cm at 6:19pm to fully at 8:40-ish. She pushed twice...maybe three times and pretty well blasted her baby out!  Some women need more encouragement than other women to push the baby out slowly to really reduce the occurrence of tearing.

At 8:49pm Adrian was born.  A healthy baby boy weighing 2650.  Just beautiful!  The momma tore, just a little.  Even though we have just had our suturing class and I've joint sutured twice, i didn't have to suture.  YAY!  It was a little close to endorsements, so I really didn't want to have to suture under pressure or be committed to staying until it was done.

One more little blessings!  He's precious.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The cup that bubbles over...

As the title implies there are sooo many things to write about.  In your favor, they will just be little snippets here because these little things that were going to be posts in their own right have piled up quite a bit AND, well, time is short.

#1. Baby #18 TODAY!  I was third up of four of us on shift.  It was busy, but with just postpartum patients.  There was one labor out of the 6 or so patients on the board that were endorsed to us.  The midwife who was "first up" took her.  Then around 7:00am a labor came in, so the midwife who was "second up" took her.  All was going pretty smooth.  Both labors were fully and were pushing, but as you ladies that have had children or worked in a similar setting know, just because your pushing doesn't mean that baby will born right away.  So, we were just chillin'.  The patients in postpartum were being taken care of as needed and everything else was pretty calm.  Then, the first labor gave birth at 8:16am.  She did great.  the next birth I was assisting with gave birth at 8:37am and just as the placenta was out (i was still holding the bag with the placenta in it) there was a taxi that pulled up.

The supervisor goes running out the door yelling, "Kelly, Kelly, Kelly....hurry, come on, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly."  At this point i'm still holding the bag with the placenta in it trying to figure out where an acceptable place to put it is.  The midwife told me to just put it on the bed, which I quickly did.  I only had gloves on and wrongly thought that the super had already grabbed a tray (which were still on birth carts in the cubicles that had just had births.  Upon arriving at the taxi the scene was like this: The patient laying stretched out across the seat (thankfully this was a small SUVtaxi, so a little more space than a car) with a waded blanket between her legs.  Sorry, if this is a little graphic (cover your eyes and skip down...) I peaked under the blanket and saw 4-5 cm head visible!!  That's exciting.  She was pushing and yelling with every contraction and was not about to slow down.  We couldn't move her, so the baby was delivered in the car!  So fun.  Usually we let the cord stop pulsing, then clamp it, but in this situation the cord was clamped and the patient was transported in a wheel chair to the clinic and a bed.  Ah, what crazy times.  I didn't get any pictures, but hopefully they will return for baby checks and we'll snap a few there!!  Happy Birthday to Leana Gabrielle, 2900g (about 6lbs. 7oz.) at 8:50am.

Like most holidays here in the Philippines they do like to celebrate Valentine's day.  It is substantially less celebratory that most, but they do sell the appropriate candies and do some decorating in store fronts and restaurants.  For us, it wasn't too big of a holiday.  We had a seminar to go to and regular clinic work.  But, just today (Feb 23) the mail brought in some wonderful surprises.  Namely two that touched my heart.  One was a lovely pkg complete with choc, candies and a card from my dear brother and sister (in-law).  THANK YOU.  The other was a card from some ladies at church in the P4U group.  THANK YOU.  Reading each of your notes just touched my heart.  Today has been especially long and tiring, so thank you!!  Each of your notes made me smile. clever.

#3. Life is Messy!
One of the many topics that we run across in this field, as in many other fields, is the need for counciling.  Often, the women we minister to are single and pregnant.  Hmmmm.  Or, they are living with their boyfriend.  So, it is imperative that we learn to listen and offer a place of trust and hope.  Sometimes we may have opportunities where we are doing more formal counseling, but mostly it's just in the way we serve the women.  Often, these women are very open and very real.  The may openly confess to having a "job" of being a prostitute, or drinking, or smoking.  Some hide, but when you can be a safe place, they open up.  
So, what ran across my brain was the need for Christians, and often those working in foreign places, to be real too!  No one is super human.  Sometimes we put up facades of "Holiness" or "Purity" when in fact we are simply binding ourself to a made up standard that is damaging in the end because we miss out on God's graciousness to our humanity or finiteness.  He is gracious!  Just a challenge for my own life and for you.  Just because you may have a label of Christian doesn't mean you too can't be real about struggles or even feelings, like flash in the pan tempers.  Mhmmm.  My parents tried to instill in us the worth of validating people.  For instance, to stop, make eye contact, and say, "hello." is very validating to someone because they know that they are a person in your eyes.  Ahhh.  It challenge me to be real and know that life isn't always clean and neat, sometimes, the emotions or feelings we have may not feel holy, but they are part of life on this earth.  Sometimes, I just need someone to validate those and then we can move on.

#4. We have a great matter of security here.  There have been multiply shootings recently, so we are under "orders" not only by our staff, but also by the mayor (to all the Filipinos in the area) to be aware and be safe.  Usually we would walk to the places close by, but that is no longer an option!  The shootings have been of pedestrians (usually females) who are attacked by a motorcyclist.  Sometimes it was due to a struggle to give over posessions or money, other times it didn't seem to matter whether there was a struggle or not.  We are not living in fear, but it has changed our life a little.  Your prayers are appreciated.

Well, that's all for now!  May the Lord bless you and keep you and give you strength to carry on in His path!