Monday, December 22, 2008

snow berm

I woke up early this morning and just couldn't get back to sleep, so I made myself some hot chocolate and took a gander out the window. There are inches of new snow this morning, and it's still coming down. We have a spruce tree by the garage that was hanging a bit lower yesterday because of the quarter inch of ice sitting on it. This morning I could probably walk up and kick it because it's nearly touching the ground. The snow has brought the branch down about 8 feet. I'm not sure if we had more freezing rain during the night or if the snow is just really heavy, but the poor plant life is suffering.

When daylight comes I'm going to stick a measuring tape in the snow on the walk and find out exactly how much we got overnight. Ken had to sweep the walk again last night so people could make it to our house, and looking out right now you can't really tell that the snow was ever removed.

If all those weren't signs that this storm is very different from others I've seen, the news this morning clinched it. I turned the t.v. on and the announcers were taking a look at a car that was high centered on some snow. The anchor used the term "snow berm" which I'm pretty familiar with from winters in Alaska. That's the first time I've ever heard that term used here. The guy also made an amusing joke about changing the name of the program to "Good Morning Fargo".

Snow berms. It's official... we're not in Oregon anymore.

Friday, December 19, 2008

my view on santa

It seems that I've had many conversations this holiday season about Santa Claus and what we will be teaching our son. Ken and I have talked about this for a while now, and we have decided not to teach our children that Santa is real. Instead we will treat him just as any other fictitious character our children would know about from books or the media. It seems to be the most sensible approach that I can think of.

I know that I want to teach our child about Santa before somebody else does. It is much better that they hear from us that Santa is based on a real person who used to help the poor instead of being a real person who is magical. Christmas in our house is about Christ, and there's no reason to perpetuate the belief that Santa comes into the house to give good kids presents at night. We're not even convinced that presents are all that important, unless we're giving the kids something they really need, like new clothes. I know that we're going against the norm, and even against what our parents did when we were little. It doesn't sit well with me to lie to a child, though. I think that kids are perfectly capable of understanding that certain things are not real. My nephew loves lights, frosty the snowman, and other holiday things, but when asked why we celebrate Christmas his answer is, "because Jesus loves us." Even a child can tell the difference between fun fictional things and the real reason behind this winter holiday. I wonder why adults think they won't be able to handle the truth.

I do think that the idea of Santa can offer a somewhat tangible example of somebody displaying Christ-like qualities that kids would understand, like being charitable, loving one's neighbor, caring for widows/orphans. We make parallels between things today and things from the Bible, and I see no harm in pointing out to children the positive actions the original St. Nicholas did. I do not believe the character himself is inherently evil, but the way society exalts him to a god-like status is wrong. It is no different from the way we worship food, tv, sports, comics, video games, etc. It just happens to coincide with a holiday dedicated to Christ. In reality we should be worshiping Christ every day, not just on a select few days of the year. We must be careful not to let anything become more important than our Savior.

That's my view on Santa- fictitious character based on a real person who did nice things to help others. Great opportunity to segue into Christ's characteristics and the real reason we are celebrating Christmas. After you discuss it with your children there's really no need to re-approach the topic, since I think kids are pretty smart and there's a reason Christ said our faith should be child-like. They know that Jesus loves them, and they accept it. Santa need not be a substitute.

Monday, December 15, 2008

let it snow!

After Church
Safeway Parking Lot

It finally feels like winter here, with the snow storm that hit yesterday. Today it is cold and beautifully white out, and some of the snow is hanging on through the sun. We are supposed to get hit with another wave of snow around Wednesday, but I'm taking that forecast with a grain of salt. It may be too much to hope for another day of snow.

Yesterday it started snowing around 8 am, and continued through the whole day. Ken and I went to the church Christmas program, and it snowed about 2 inches in the time we were there. The roads were icy and slick, and we managed to get to the top of the only hill on the way home before our tires spun a little. Ken and I took some cookies to people and then decided to take a walk to Safeway to get some sugar on sale. It was cold and snow was blowing, but there was something beautiful about the fresh white snow and lack of cars on the road. We did get to watch people slide through the stop signs by the store, which made me thankful we walked instead of drove. On the way home we met a woman named Amy and her son Atlas. It turns out that she lives in the apartment we just moved out of! Ken says it's a God-thing that we met her, because we'd never gone on a walk before. I think we're going to take her some welcome-to-the-area cookies this week, which will be fun.

Today Ken and I are hanging tight at home and wrestling with the heat, which has been working a little slow. I let out a cry of joy when the thermostat hit 70, even though a digital thermometer says it's only 64. Somebody will be out Wednesday to check the system unless something else goes wrong before then. I'm sure they are busy helping all the people who have heating problems because of the storm. Quite a few people didn't have power last night or this morning, and were much colder than we are.

I'm hoping to get in another walk around the neighborhood before all the snow is gone, and maybe find some other cool places to take pictures.

Monday, December 8, 2008

the media and pregnancy

As I get closer to my due date, I've been watching some of the pregnancy/baby shows on tv, and some of it just baffles me. I had a discussion last week with our birthing instructor about how our society kind of drives women towards pain relief and epidurals during labor, whereas in other countries women wouldn't even think of asking for pain relief. Now, I think it is perfectly natural to desire pain relief. Most of us don't enjoy pain, and I would suppose that labor pain is one that most women would wish not to feel.

That said, I was a little taken aback when watching a labor on tv where the narrator was seemingly astonished that the mother had refused pain relief, and then commented that she was "paying for it". It made childbirth without medication seem like an undesireable, crazy thing to attempt. I know women who gave birth without pain relief, and they all seem of sound mind to me. It irks me a bit that the media would dare portray any woman giving birth as anything less than brave and special.

I don't care if you've got pain relief or not... childbirth is hard work for every woman, and that should be acknowledged. I do think women who try for a labor without pain relief must be pretty determined to go against the "norm" and we should support them, not ridicule them.

Later in the same show the nursing mother was portrayed as "stuck at home" because she had to be able to feed the baby. I can see why new mothers would feel that way at the beginning when baby is feeding so often, and especially if they haven't been told what to expect with breastfeeding. But I also know many mothers who choose to nurse and manage to do that while still getting out of the house.

Maybe my point should be that having a baby isn't some kind of death sentence for the mother and father, like the media has a tendency to make it. It is a beautiful thing to raise a new life and we should praise God for the opportunity!