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Archive for December, 2012

Giving mothers a hand

For the family and friends and random people who somehow end up here, I’m sharing links to a couple of organizations that are fighting the good fight, not at home but abroad. These are organizations that are often in my thoughts, and ones that I often wish I could help more.

Here is a link to the African Mother’s Health Initiative, founded by a lovely woman I met in Malawi by the name of Joanne Chiwaula. Well, she was Joanne Jorrissen at the time, but we all find love in Malawi…right, Alicia? 🙂 Anyway, Joanne is a midwife who saw a need and worked to start an organization to fill that need. They are able to fill in the gap between the hospital and home by providing follow-up support and formula for the families of new motherless babes. There are not many other organizations doing this kind of work in the Lilongwe area — or maybe even in the rest of Malawi.

Well, there is maybe one. 🙂 The Central Africa Medical Mission‘s Lutheran Mobile Clinic works hard to fill in gaps, too. The infant formula program for orphaned infants and multiple biths has always been an important part of the clinic. But just like with everything, not always having enough funding keeps the program on and ebb-and-flow kind of routine. Well, and other things. I seem to remember a truck full of formula being stuck at the border for quite some time, which had Alicia and I wondering how much formula we could buy off of grocery store shelves in good conscience. At any rate, while formula distribution is not the primary service the LMC offers, it is an important one.

Christmas is upon us! May the peace and love of the Child shine blaze through the clouds.

Love, Kim

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It doesn’t seem quite right to keep on with the chronicling of our (thankfully) mundane lives without acknowledging the recent events that are anything but.

I don’t know what to say about what has happened in Connecticut. In fact ”what has happened” is about the closest I can get to a verbal description. Even though we’re not there, pieces of the black cloud of sadness that is covering the U.S. are hovering over us as well. My mom made an apt comparison of the nation’s emotional state after ‘what has happened in Conneticut’ to Norway’s emotional state after ‘July 22nd‘.

But what does it mean that I keep coming back to the twenty-odd toddler boys of Bethlehem killed in response to Jesus’ birth? Something about the eternal coexistence of great evil with great good? It doesn’t wash away the sadness, but maybe — maybe — there’s some comfort there? Comfort in that the world has always been full of awful things, and we need to keep fighting them. Fighting evil with love and understanding, not finger-pointing and blame-shifting. If we could get a nation to think like that, then maybe we can get somewhere.

With this terrible thing that has happened that has us all feeling the grief of a bereaved parent, and the advent of Christmas, which is the celebration of the birth of a Child, the air seems pretty permeated with maternal/paternal feelings. More specifically, maternal/paternal struggles. Or maybe it’s because I’m waiting to hear about a friend’s baby being born, while checking in on another’s pregnancy, etc., etc. And possibly the the little one bouncing heavily on my sciatic nerve adds something to that equation as well. My brain — like everyone else’s — launches into ‘find-solutions’ mode to keep all our families safe and content; to protect the babies of the world.

Then it hits a dead end and stops.  There are just too many variables in our complicated world.

I initially wrote this before Christmas, before the Acts of Kindness movement started. What a gift in the midst of tragedy, to see each other through eyes made more empathetic by loss. Misery may love company, but grief can be softened by numbers.

Carry on, Americans! The love you’re spreading will dissipate that cloud.

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Isn’t it amazing what a couple of weeks of routine and decent sleep can do to you?

Ambition rises, challenges are exciting instead of debilitating, the laundry pile diminishes so much it can be contained within it’s closet home…

That was  the first part of November, for the most part. While the kids were in barnehage, I got things done. I washed the floors, for crying out loud. While they were home, we made bread and knekkerbrød and took the occasional trip out (let’s not get carried away — they are still very active and I am still pregnant, so I practice a good bit of ”containment” as a parenting strategy). Bjørn was travelling a lot, and we managed to do it all — doctors appointments, ultrasounds, parent-teacher meetings, and the occasional coffee outing. For about a minute, I felt on top of things. WE EVEN MADE — AND DECORATED OUR FIRST BATCH OF GINGERBREAD. If that’s not ”on-top-of-it,” I don’t know what is.

So I decided that I (with the help of my supportive husband) would decidedly try to move forward with this little baking-for-profit venture. I set up meetings, made arrangements, promoted my wares, got some positive response (!), and dreamt about how great it would be to sell some cookies here and there before Christmas, which is, after all, cookie eating season.

Insert head-shaking, rueful, eye-rolling, slightly maniacal laughter.

Oh, December. How could I have forgotten you?

The last weeks I have been surrounded by coughing, watery-eyed, clingy, occasionally diarrhea-ic males. It’s remarkable, really, how all three of them have the exact same cough. It’s also remarkable that I DON’T have it yet, especially considering I am smooshed between them all  every night in our bed.

So all those ”free” hours I was going to use to fill our forms and bake my little heart out disappeared…as I should have anticipated that they would. Now that it’s too late and commitments have been made, the clarity has set in. Or is that hindsight?

What on EARTH was I thinking when I decided to embark on a new project NOW? In early winter? When all the winter-cold-virus germs have come back from vacation and are ready to party? What delusional mom of two, husband of one (who has also just started a new position) does that?

I suspect quite a few, actually. So just laugh (maniacally if you will) and shake your heads with me, and pray I have a bit better sense next year.

(don’t worry, friends, I do remember to come back to the lesson learned here, and my main goal is to enjoy the season in the joy and peace it’s meant to be enjoyed in.)

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