Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Life Is Short

Life is short and there's no time to harbor grudges or live with regrets, especially since life is fragile and can be cut short long before you ever expect it to. When I was younger I always hated leaving for school if I'd had cross words with my mom, and it would eat at me all day. Sometimes I'd think, "How would I feel if Mom died in a car accident today and the last words I said to her were less than kind?" If that had happened I know jt would've haunted me every day for the rest of my life and would be a huge source of regret.

There have been two tragedies in the past week that are an example of how fragile life is and how nothing is life is certain. Last week an eight car train crashed in Spain. The train crashed when its rails came off the tracks while going round a curve. At the time of the crash the train was going 95 mph, nearly TWICE the 50 mph speed limit. The driver, 53-year-old Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, was reportedly obsessed with speed. Moments before the accident happened the driver took a call from another train employee and was on the phone when the crash happened. 79 of the 218 passengers on board lost their life 
Above is the driver of the train. On Sunday he was charged with multiple cases of reckless homicide. I don't know how he feels about what happened, but I know I would personally feel TERRIBLE if I were responsible for an accident like that. It would be bad enough if I were doing everything right and just lost control, but to be so negligent as to be speeding so recklessly… I don't know how I would live myself!

Below is a pic of Chad and Courtney Phelps. Last Saturday they were killed in a bus accident. Chad was a youth pastor and he and his wife were on a bus with a bunch of kids from church and were returning home from a week at camp. The accident happened just one mile from the church when the brakes gave out on the exit ramp. The saddest thing has to be that Courtney was 8 months pregnant with their second child, and that they leave behind a two-year-old son, Chase. My heart breaks for him having to grow up without his parents. I'm sure he has loving family members that will step up to raise him, but let's face it, it's just not the same.
If/when Chandra and I argue (which happens occasionally) we always patch it up by saying, "Let's bury the hatchet." It's even become a joke between the two of us, and sometimes I'll say it even when there's been no argument, just to make her laugh. All kidding aside, though, I always make an effort to mend my fences ASAP, just because I know from personal experience that accidents happen when you least expect them, and I know that God sometimes calls His children home sooner than we may expect. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"The Midwife"

Yesterday morning I had to go get a bone density scan, and then I had to get a CT scan after that. I had to drink a big cup cup of contrast for the CT scan, wait 30 minutes, drink another big cup of contrast and then wait another 30 minutes before I could actually get the CT scan. SO, that meant that I spent lots of time waiting. And what's better to do while waiting than read! 
A couple months ago my mom and I started reading a book called The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times (the first in a trilogy of books). Here's a synopsis of the book: 

At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in post war London's East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies all over London-from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives to the woman with twenty-four children who can't speak English to the prostitutes and dockers of the city's seedier side-illuminate a fascinating time in history. 

I first became acquainted with this book after my friend Sienna introduced me to the BBC show Call the Midwife which is based off of this book trilogy. My mom, Chandra and I watched the first season of the show and we all really liked it. I got the second season of the show on DVD last month for my birthday. I still haven't watched it yet, because I'm hoping to re-watch the first season beforehand (after I finish the book).
Mom was able to do a fair amount of reading to me yesterday while we were waiting and we finished all but the last chapter of our book (which we finished after we got home). We both really enjoyed the book. It was really interesting to read about the ins and outs of midwifery in the 1950's. I'm interested in reading the next two books in the trilogy, but I've got a lot of books on my "to read" list that I need to get to first.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Catching Up with the Lundgreens

A couple weeks ago I made a blog post called Catching up with the Browns where I wrote about visiting with one of my childhood friends Michelle and her family who I hadn't seen in the past 10 years. Last Monday I was able to catch up with Michelle's younger sister, Julie, while she was in town for a visit. I haven't seen Julie since her family moved away in 1998. She was 10 at the time and I was 14, so we've both changed a lot since then. I'm so glad we had this opportunity!
Chandra and Julie were good friends growing up. Julie gave Chandra this little black Cabbage Patch Doll figurine for Chandra's fourth birthday. It's been in one of our toy buckets ever since, and still gets played with by the nieces/nephews and other kids that play over here. We had to get a picture of Chandra and Julie with the toy 20 years later.
It was fun to meet Julie's kids in person after seeing pictures on Facebook/blog posts about them. Her son happily played for a few hours while we visited. He was really good and it was fun to watch him play.

Pink Stargazer Lilies

My sister recently received a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and I was mighty jealous because they were gorgeous! The arrangement was 12 big roses with lots of pink stargazer lilies. (Pink stargazer lilies are my favorite flower!) I asked Chandra where she was going to put her flowers and she said out on the kitchen table. I spend most of my time in my bedroom and wouldn't have been able to even SEE the flowers from my room, so I asked her if we could put them in MY room. She obliged me and thought it was a good solution since the three of us spend lots of time in my room, so it was a place where we'd all be able to enjoy them.

I asked Chandra to take a photo shoot with the flowers to document their beauty. These pictures were taken four days after she received them. I wanted to take the pictures right away to catch the flowers in their prime, but I waited a few days because there were several buds on the lilies that I was hoping would bloom. SO, some of the roses are a little past peak perfection, but they still look really nice.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Royal Baby

I've been looking forward to the birth of the royal baby ever since I heard the news that Princess Kate was expecting. There's been a lot of buzz about Kate the past couple of weeks since the birth of her and Prince William's baby was imminent. People have been speculating about all aspects of the birth, from the gender of the baby, when/where it would be born and what name would be chosen for the baby.
On Monday, July 22, I turned on the TV in the morning and heard the news that Kate had gone into labor. I had a doctor's appointment that morning, and then had friends over in the afternoon to visit, so I was away from the TV much of the day. But I heard the news of the royal birth later in the afternoon. Kate gave birth to a baby boy at 4:24 in the afternoon, and the baby weighed 8 lbs. 6 oz.  I don't know if it sounds silly to admit, but I was thrilled when I heard the news. There's so much bad news that gets reported on these days, so it was refreshing to have the news be something exciting and happy for once!
It was fun to watch the royal birth coverage on the news, and to see all the festivities and excitement that surrounded the birth. I love the picture below of everyone clamoring around the gate in front of Buckingham palace anxiously awaiting the news that the baby had arrived. It's tradition for the news to come by an official letter being posted on an easel outside the palace. (There's always the town crier that "cries" the news to the world. "Hear ye, hear ye...")
Here's a picture of William and Kate leaving the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital. I love how Prince William took charge of loading baby George into the car, and how he even drove his family away instead of having someone else drive them, which is customary.
I liked these "then and now" pictures showing Princess Diana and Prince Charles leaving the hospital with William 31 years ago (leaving from the very same exit of St. Mary's Hospital.).
The world was all ears as they waited to find out what Kate and William would name the baby. Yesterday afternoon the news broke that the name had been chosen: George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. When I found out the baby was a boy, I was actually thinking that they might choose the name George for their son. The name James also was on the list of names that people were speculating might be chosen if the baby were a boy. James is one of my favorite boy names, so I would've loved the name to be James Alexander, but nobody consulted me!! (I wonder if the name George will rise in popularity now that Kate and William have chosen that name for their baby?)
I actually have a love-hate relationship with the name George. Several years ago, my sister's sister-in-law had a son and she named him George. I was surprised since that's not really a common name these days. Most of the Georges I knew were old men, so I felt badly for the poor baby, since George just sounded like such an old man name! The name has actually grown on me in the past several years, and now I actually kind of like it, although not enough to ever name one of my kids that if I had kids.

It's funny how your feelings on different names can change over the years, or how the way you view a name can be positively or negatively affected by someone else you know that has the same name, like a childhood classmate, a former partner in a relationship, a celebrity that you like/don't like, etc.
Welcome to the world, future King of England!
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