Skip to content

The search for significance. Looking all the wrong places.

Today I lost it. The world is for sure joining its forces against me. I was denied the grant to help fund my new book. And get this, this happened a day after I got a crappy grade on my exam in human rights and advocacy. As if this is not enough to ruin my day I can add a list of strikes against me:

A good friend nominated me for a women’s prize, but my name must have gotten lost in the pile of other names because I never even made the list of the people the committee recommended. (Or perhaps the nominating committee just held their stomachs, pointed to my name and laughed through the whole meeting).

I called, emailed, texted and wrote to a dozen people about Partners, and they never even bothered replying to me.

I wrote articles that I personally thought were masterpieces and got polite replies back from a long list of magazines and newspapers saying that they are sorry they cannot publish my piece this time, but good luck to you.

My blog is not gaining any followers.

My Instagram pictures have fewer likes than my children’s.

My husband got a better grade on his exam than I did, and that despite the fact that his writing is crap, and he spent two hours on it.

The new government in our country sucks so bad I am starting to feel like hiding the fact that I am Norwegian. I feel that even this could be a reason for me to fail in life.

And now the sheets I hang out to dry got rained on.

My daughter gave me a makeover some days ago. It was fun and it made me feel beautiful. But, strangely, it didn't make me more popular. It also didn't turn me into a better person. But, did you know how to put on bronzer?

My daughter gave me a makeover some days ago. It was fun and it made me feel beautiful. But, strangely, it didn’t make me more popular. It also didn’t turn me into a better person. But, did you know how to put on bronzer?

All around me I see people who succeed at everything they do. In fact, some of them have succeeded even before they start. Pieces are published in magazines, newspapers and online that get shared and commented on, and I read it and think that my stuff is so much better. Books get published and become bestsellers, and I think: Who likes this stuff? People wake up pretty. Others seem to have all the time in the world to go for runs, hikes, bike rides and exotic trips with their backpacks and tent. Me, I am feeling lucky the days I have time to take the dog for a walk for 30 minutes.

Everybody else seems to have the coolest friends and they are always getting together in the evenings wearing their nice clothes and perfectly manicured nails and drink wine from pretty glasses while they laugh at each other’s jokes and encourage each other. Me, I am often so tired that I spend the evenings at home, watching TV and eating potato chips.

Okey, we may not hang with the people with the crystal glasses. And quite frankly, when I think about it, I would rather hang out with the ones who will sit by the fire with me, drinking wine from paper cups.

Okey, we may not hang with the people with the crystal glasses. And quite frankly, when I think about it, I would rather hang out with the ones who will sit by the fire with me, drinking wine from paper cups.

The list could go on, but I feel that if I keep writing, I will put myself into depression and all the dishes piled up on my kitchen counter may never get done.

As I looked at the denial letter I got in the mail today, I honestly thought: Of course they would not grant me the money I applied for. What do they care? Plus, when will I get it? I am not very good at writing, or much else for that matter.

But then, after a while wallowing in self-pity I asked myself a question that needs to be asked. Who are you trying to impress?

I have been trying to teach my children this their whole life, but it seems I need to learn it myself to: What you do and what people think about you don’t determine your worth. It simply can’t. So often I set my own value based on my successes and failures. Obviously that means that some days I am super valuable, and other days I am completely worthless. The last week I haven’t been worth much more than the broken trashcan I use for composting.

We could say I have been feeling the way I look here.

We could say I have been feeling the way I look here.

What I have told others, and believe is true for them, is that their true worth is who they are when they take away all the exterior stuff. Our true value is not how we look, how much money we make, how many articles we get published, how many prizes we receive, or how many friends we have. Our true value is in the core of who we are.

Once Steve asked me, and I have been pondering this: “What would your worth be if you were paralyzed from the neck down, lost your hearing and your vision? Would that change my value as a human being?” If the answer is yes, then we do live in a world that places people’s value on their ability to perform, as well as on their performance. And to be totally honest, that is kind of the world we do live in.

But is it right? Of course not. A person has his or her value because of the fact that he or she is a human being, created in the image of God. Nothing can take that truth away. If I can just start believing that, and act as if it is true, then a denial letter or a bad grade won’t throw me into the sump of self-pity and depressive thoughts. It will just be a bump in the road, on the road called life.

So, here I am, on a rainy day, determined to keep striving to get better, and to aim for excellence. But at the same time as I am doing this, I will also keep reminding myself that the outcomes don’t determine my value. My value has already been set and it won’t change. In the words of Winston Churchill: Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.

A new quote for my book with flowers growing on it.

oddnygumaer:

Since Steve is in a creative writing mood these days, it will suffice for me to reblog his writing while I go and mop the floors in my house. Enjoy the flowers on your road!

Originally posted on Normal Is Over.:

Van Gogh on normalVan Gogh paints it, Fromm says it, Jesus lives it, and Tolkein turns it into everyone’s story; normal is a very bad place to be.

“As they sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick.”

Thanks to grand master blogess Oddny Gumaer for digging this out of pinterest and planting it in my inbox.  Hopefully in 2015 I’ll finish my book. Until then lets keep fighting dragons, babe.

“What good is it for someone to gainthe whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their…

View original 4 more words

Break the rules and your life doesn’t suck. I promise.

oddnygumaer:

This is a continuation of the blog from yesterday. Written by Steve.

Originally posted on Normal Is Over.:

There are times I feel like I have reasons to say my life sucks. It rains on my day off. We run out of money too often. I get the flu. How would it be if I had nowhere to live when the rain came? How would it be if there were no doctors, and no medicine when my children or I got sick?

In detention for three years and without food; the Rohingya people plan their escape and accept the terrible risk.

In detention for three years and without food; the Rohingya people plan their escape and accept the terrible risk.

How would it be if I was not just penniless, but also stateless, and imprisoned in a concentration-like camp with no prospects of a better life? In fact, my most likely prospect would be this: Death. What would I do?

Partners has been told that helping the Rohingya is close to impossible. The government of Burma/Myanmar forbids helping them. Ironically they will tell the world that they…

View original 579 more words

#dieandseeificare

It’s that time of the year. It’s time for much of nature to die. Seeds were planted, grew, bore fruit, and now their mission is done. They die. My sugar snap peas gave me a lot of enjoyment. Now they are gone.

It’s also time for people to die. Children. Babies. Teens. Mothers. Fathers. Aunts. Uncles. Best friends. Grandparents. Colleagues. Neighbors. This is the time of the year when they shall die.

Rohingya baby

You may think I have smoked something strange and that I am just babbling nonsense. But this is not the case. I don’t smoke anything. Ever. I also don’t lie. And I hear a lot of stories I wish I didn’t have to hear.

Some days ago I was sitting in a small room with people whom I love and admire. There were nine of us. We were from four different countries and three different continents. You could almost say we were from five countries and four continents, since some of us came from one country and lived in another. This is not the point.

The point was that we were all sitting there feeling like a heavy rock had been chained to our hearts. We saw no possible way to get it off. Actually, this is not really the point either. The point is not us. The point is the people we were talking about. The ones who are dying right now. As we were sitting there, looking forlorn, they were dying. A slow death. But a certain death nevertheless.

We all knew the people who are dying. We had all visited them, talked to them, touched them, smelled them, eaten their food, held their babies. We were talking about the Rohingya people of course. Their plight became the heavy rock hanging from our heart, making smiling impossible.

One of us said: For two years the UN has refused to register them as refugees, thus making helping them illegal and close to impossible. With some simple steps from the UN, they could at least be given a small food ration. 

Rohingya in camp

Another said: They are desperate enough to pay a high sum of money to get on a boat that will take them away. None know how may have died at sea, and how many have been sold to traffickers who torture them, withhold money, food and other privileges, how many girls have been sold into prostitution, how many children have died due to lack of food and medicine on the boat.

Yet another said: They are dying a slow death. What is happening is genocide. The government wants them gone, whatever it takes. Their death is a good option. So they don’t allow aid groups to distribute food. Starvation is a quick and certain, though painful, way to die. By withholding medicine and doctors from their concentration camps, their imminent death is more certain. 

My thoughts were: My country gives money to the UN, believing they are the ones who are doing the job best. It is sad to think about all the wasted millions that should have been used to feed, heal and educate children and their families being spent on high salaries, Land-rovers, and rent of buildings belonging to former military generals. It is aggravating to think about what we could do with that amount of money. 

My friend to the left said: What is the point of even feeding them when they will still die. We are just prolonging the inevitable: Their certain death. We can’t feed them forever. 

Rohingya girl

All of us wondered: How can we help get them away from this small corner of hell? How can we ensure that they don’t just disappear? The children with the big dark eyes and the curious stares, the girls with the serous demeanor, and the boys with the dedicated attitude will perhaps not survive for another year. Who survives on a cup of rice, some water and the prospect of living in a small enclosure with no freedom to move, work, grow food, and pursue one’s dreams for long? Who survives when there is no hope? 

I am not making this up. It is the sad, the terrible, the brutal, the honest, the shocking, the sickening truth that without a major change of attitude of the world, the people group called the Rohingya may cease to exist. The dark-eyed children will not be able to live any longer if they have nothing to eat. The fathers will stop living when they can’t go back to their jobs, their boats, their fields, and their communities where they played an integral part.The mothers will die,perhaps not from lack of food, but from broken hearts. Seeing their children die and not being able to do anything to ease their pain is a death-penalty for any mother.

Rohingya woman

My sugar snap peas completed their mission here on earth before they died. They did what they were created to do.

The hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas who right now are living under conditions worse than those of deprived animals will most likely not reach their potential, will most likely not ever feel like they are wanted, needed, sought after and loved. Unless we do something to change destiny.

See, I think we can change the course of history. Right now it looks like the Rohingya will continue to die their slow death and the world won’t care that much. An article on CNN, Huffington Post of the Guardian may pop up from time to time. But nothing that will shake governments resolve to get a piece of the pie called Burma’s natural resources. They don’t care that children are dying as long as they get re-elected, or at least get the credit for lucrative business deals. I think we can change this.

Would you write me, or add a comment on the blog and let me know how we can change it? I need your help.

Rohingya boy

 

I am serious about this. Write me and tell me how we can help save lives. Tell me if you have a way to help. Tell me if you know a president that we can meet. It is not yet time for the Rohingya to die. Read more here and here 

 

 

 

 

Carbohydrates, yoga and a small light beer

Diabetes makes you weird.

Diabetes makes you weird.

They say that it is the subject line of your blog that draws the readers. I almost considered putting the word SEX in there as well, but felt like it may also cause me to lose some of you. And although it may have helped me gain a few new followers, I was not willing to lose any of my current readers. You mean too much to me!

This week my husband decided to change his diet 100% .After he got diagnosed with Diabetes type 1 about six months ago he has not been able to control his blood sugar any longer than I am able to control a hula hoop round my waist. When he started reading about the long-term effects of high blood sugar and the unpleasant surprises that come with excessive insulin injections he decided he loved life more than chocolate, and wanted his legs to remain on his body more than he wanted baguettes and mashed potatoes. He cut all the carbs in his diet cold turkey. And when I say all the carbs, I even mean his Friday beer. Unless it is served in a very small glass, and is l-i-g-h-t.

I didn’t want him to live on a diet consisting of scrambled eggs and hotdogs with an occasional leg of chicken or possibly a pork chop. So for the last week I have spent my free time glued to no-carb recipes and I am almost an expert already. I can make bread, crackers, granola, lasagna and much more using only food from Steve’s Yes-list.

But this is not a food blog, although there are days I wish it was. The days when I have nothing smart to say. That is when I wish I could just give you a recipe, followed my ten photos of the dish in the making. But that is a different story. All together.

You can make delicious bread with just lots of seeds and some other ingredients that you can ask me for.

You can make delicious bread with just lots of seeds and some other ingredients that you can ask me for.

 

As I have been going through this rather radical change in our household (the girls and I want to show our support of Steve by disguising the maple syrup, or eating fried cabbage with a sprinkle of chia seeds together with him) I have been saddened by all the things he will not eat anymore. It makes me so very sad to think of the banana splits that he loved to eat. Now there will be no more ice cream, no more banana, no more chocolate sauce. But, he can have as much whipped cream as he wants, unless it is sweet. My homemade bread is the best, and so are my cinnamon rolls. How will his life be now that he no longer can eat either? When (if) we go to Belgium, he won’t be able to try all the monastery beers made by the trappist monks.When we eat fresh cut-up fruit with vanilla yoghurt in the evenings, he can only have the plain, lactose-free yoghurt minus all the fruit. He could have flax seeds however.

But then I thought about this: He didn’t go blind. He didn’t lose his hearing. He didn’t get diagnosed with a brain tumor or cancer. He didn’t get ALS. He didn’t become paralyzed from the neck down. He didn’t get arrested and sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He got diabetics type 1, which sucks, but which can be managed with some self discipline and perhaps some yoga as well.

And me, the wife, will keep making food that helps him feel that life is good.

 

What I am also thinking is that we live in a country where medicines and doctor visits are close to free, in a country where you can buy chia seeds and coconut flour, in a place where there actually ARE doctors and nurses, in a country where we are free to travel where we want to, despite the fact that Steve is an immigrant. We live in a country where controlling people’s excessive eating habits is harder than their lack of things to eat. We live in a country where fish is abundant in the ocean, and beer is so expensive it is better not to buy it anyway, but to save for retirement instead. Not all people are that privileged. Not all people can say that life is good, even with diabetes. Some people just have to come to terms with the fact that for them treatment is impossible and diabetes is not a disease one learns to live with. It is a disease one dies from.

 

So, I gladly figure out how to make waffles with no flour, no carbs and no dairy. (Flour, dairy and carbs are actually similar things. I just liked the sound of it in the sentence).  I do it in honor of my brave husband and of the thousands who are diabetics in countries where there is no treatment or help available and they just die from diabetes. Like Burma. Or Myanmar, like some people like to call it.

I don’t have much to say today

As the world is getting dark and the house is quiet except from the sound of my key board, I feel like this has been one of these days that I most likely won’t remember for long. Nothing out of the ordinary happened today. (Except the fact that my husband went to a wedding in Latvia, my oldest daughter called and said she had ascended the tallest mountain in the region yesterday, my middle daughter needed my help to sign a contract so she can move into a studio apartment closer to her high school in a few weeks, and my youngest had fever and a bad cough all day. I made crackers and roasted sweet potatoes and went for a run. So, in other words, a very ordinary day for the Gumaers.)

What to write about in my sporadic blog, I wondered while I was snacking on the sweet potatoes.

I don’t want to write about something sad. I don’t want to comment on the world’s status right now because it is just going to depress us all. Let me just say this: Have human beings totally lost their marbles? Has the world ever been in a sadder state than now? I don’t know the answer. If you do, let me know.

So I decided to share the coolest thing about this day. I got to watch a video that made me smile and swell with pride. It is a video worth watching if you think that nothing matters. If you think life sucks and if you ever give a few dollars away it is for sure going to be spent on weapons or administration. If you watch this video you may become a better and happier person.

If you don’t, feel free to contact me and ask for your money back.

Happy watching!

This is the link

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 10.54.59 PM

 

For Elise

Dear Elise,

This morning I looked through an old album of photos of when you were little and thought about how fast time has passed. All mothers do this. When our children leave home, we get all sentimental and miss those years when our kids still needed us to tie their shoes and put on Bandaids on bruised knees.

Elise princess

We miss the times together on the bed or on the sofa reading The Rainbow Fish, the Wizard of Oz or other classics. I think back on the first time you sat by yourself, walked by yourself, rode a bicycle by yourself, went to school by yourself, swam by yourself, spoke in front of a crowd by yourself, played the piano, sang solo, spelled your name, took the school bus by yourself, had your first sleepover, went on a school social, had your first test, got your first tooth and when you lost our first tooth. I remember the first time you kissed a boy (you were four) and the first time a friend betrayed you. I remember your first doll, your first pair of shoes, your first pair of underwear, your first bicycle, your first backpack, your first pink dress with sequins and the first book you read by yourself.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now, you are going to live life by yourself. All by yourself.

I hope you do remember to cover public toilet seats with paper before you sit on them. You must make sure you get enough sleep every night. Take some time to read some of those books I have told you to read. Did you get dental floss? You must floss. And how about sunscreen? A little flax seed in your cereal every morning will do you so much good. 

I am pretty sure you will take good care of yourself. You may skip the flossing, but I know you will never forget about the hand washing. 

The thing I am more concerned about is how you are going to spend the rest of your life. Will you spend it trying to look good, and trying to make others think that you are in charge of your own life and your circumstances, that you are invincible? Or will you spend your life enjoying who you are, living for that which really matters, and taste that life is good?

When one is as young as you are (or as old as I am) one often thinks that happiness is when we finally “make it.” We spend our lives looking for a happiness that actually already is inside us. What we spend our lives chasing after we will never find if we keep running after it.

It is hard to describe this thing that is within you (and me). Some call it our spirit. That is how I think about it. You can feel it sometimes if you take the time to be really, really quiet. You may feel it when you listen to some music that does something more than just entertain you. You may feel it as you take a deep breath and admire scenery more beautiful than words. You may feel it when you are so connected to people that all you want is to spend more time with them. You may feel it when you get to do an activity that makes you forget about time and place. You may feel it when you pray.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We can see it when people are kind to another person. Especially if it is being kind to a person that is neither good-looking, rich nor popular.

We are taught to believe that we are here in this world to succeed, and the world has defined for us what that success is. We see it on the billboards, on social media (where the goal seems to be to look as close to perfect as possible, and one’s worth is determined by the amount of likes), on TV and in glossy magazines. But you are not your bank account (or mine for that matter. Sorry we never had enough money to buy all these brand-name clothes, shoes and purses). You are not your successes and failures. You are Elise. You are here to be loved and to love. You are free, even though that is hard to believe at times.

So how to you feed your spirit? Not with flax seeds. Not with a mask of makeup and perfectly shaped eye brows. No, you do it by start walking by the light you have been given. Take the first step.

I am sorry to say so, but it seems that whether you choose to follow Jesus (he is the one I cheer for, as you know) or any other great leader, you will have to start by helping others. You don’t have to follow me to Burma, and to Partners, unless that is what you want to do. But do look for the ones who have less, the ones who are lonely, the ones who are sick or the ones who, for whatever reason, feel that life did not give them a fair chance. Give water to the thirsty, feed the hungry, visit the lonely. You will be surprised at how much happiness it will bring your spirit.

elise and karen friend

Laugh. Laughing an underestimated activity that people stop doing when they grow older and think they need to be responsible. But we need to laugh. Most of all we need to learn to laugh at ourselves.

Rest, and enjoy the small moments of simple pleasures, such as the smell of the ocean, the crumbled-up drawing given by a small child, a smile from a stranger or the taste of the summer’s first strawberry.

So, here I am, hoping that I have not made you fall asleep already. I said all this, when all I really needed to say was this: You are loved. You have all it takes inside you. Don’t follow others if you don’t think it is right. Make your own choices. Don’t try to be perfect. Laugh, love and rest.

And just one last piece of advice: Don’t mix light and dark colors when you do your laundry.

I love you more than words can express,

Mom

 

 

 

 

The sad nation of bread and jam and other lessons

My new little friend whose name, she says, is Carrot, looks at me with a concerned face. She is eight years old and is trying to learn about the world she is living in. “So, in your country, what do you eat every day,” she asks. “Different things, like bread and potatoes,” I reply. This is when she starts feeling very sorry for me: “Oh, yes, I have heard that in your country you just eat bread and jam. It is a shame that you don’t have anything else to eat.” I want to defend myself and add: “Well, we also eat fish.” She is not impressed. “It must be hard for your people. You are never really full, are you? You should all move to our village where you could eat all the rice you want and feel really full.”

Carrot showing off her Play Doh sculpture.

Carrot showing off her Play Doh sculpture.

She and her friends are sitting on the porch of the house where we are staying stringing beads and making necklaces, rings and bracelets for themselves and for the members of our team. Carrot speaks up again: “Why don’t you have any green beads. These are only pink and purple ones.” “We are going to use green beans for something else later,” I explain. “And why do you want green anyway?” “Because green is the color of everything growing in the nature. That’s why,” she says and settles for the boring pinks and purples that have no meaning whatsoever.

After a while she has thought of a new question for me. “How long will it take you to get back to your country then?” “Two whole days,” I say, not including that this is just the flight home, not the two days it takes to drive to her village on the border of Burma. “Two days! That means you won’t get home until Thursday. Me, I have never been that far away from home. The furthest I have been is over there. See that village over there? That is the furthest I have been.”

As we keep stringing the beads there are other themes discussed as well. One of them is the two copulating dogs we saw on our way back from taking a bath in the river. “Did you see the two dogs we passed?” Carrot asks. I feel a little embarrassed to discuss what we had observed. Somehow I feel that teaching about reproduction is not part of my job description. I have to admit I passed the dogs quickly without looking too closely. For the children, however, it is just part of living in a village surrounded by animals. “Did you see those two dogs?” Asks Carrot. “Well, yes, I did happen to see them,” I reply and want to change the theme. “You know what it means, don’t you?” My little friend asks in a way that makes me understand she is checking how much we have learned about the cycle of life in our bread-eating country. I act ignorant. “OK, it means that in not too long we are going to have dog babies here in the village,” she patiently explains to me while she ties the ends of her necklace together. Then she tells me that she unfortunately has to leave the team and me now as she has other commitments. She needs to go home and take a bath and eat her dinner.

As I watch her leave I am confident that I have just met one of tomorrow’s leaders. I am so glad that it is girls like her that Partners help educate.

And here is Carrot's friend. I just had to add this picture because it is beautiful.

And here is Carrot’s friend. I just had to add this picture because it is beautiful.

Busting some old-time myths

It is a myth that when your kids get older, you will have more time on your hands.

No, life doesn't get less busy when the kids get older. It is just busy in a different way.

No, life doesn’t get less busy when the kids get older. It is just busy in a different way.

It is also a myth that Norwegians always ear Lefser and Lutefisk.

Today though, I decided to write about some other myths that are way more important to bust.

Myth 1: Everything that is fun, exotic, exciting, meaningful or popular costs money.

Busting Myth 1: No, there are lots of things you can do that are fun, exotic, exciting, meaningful and popular that doesn’t cost money. One of them is to become a Partners Advocate. It is totally free and you may end up having more fun that you thought possible.

Myth 2: To help poor and oppressed people, I have to move to a country far away.

Busting Myth 2: There is no need to move to a far away country to help the poor and the oppressed. In fact, you may help them even more by staying right where you are, in your own town. From the comfort of your own home you can become a Partners Advocate. You might even be able to arrange Partners Advocate meetings at your favorite coffee shop.

Myth 3: In order to make an impact on the world, I need to have a degree in something like, for example, a Masters in World-changing.

Busting Myth 3: Education is very good. That is why it is a focus for Partners to help children in Burma get an education. But, guess what? You don’t need a degree to become a Partners Advocate! What we ask for is a willing heart and a desire to help. With that you can go a long way in changing the world.

Myth 4: Helping people takes a lot of time.

Busting Myth 4: This myth could be true. Sometimes it takes a long time to help people. But one can also do a lot to help many in just a short amount of time. You can become a Partners Advocate and in just a couple of hours a month you could make a huge impact on children affected by war. You could still have time to watch your favorite TV show or go for a run.

Myth 5: People who work with Partners are all perfect, smart and beautiful.

Busting Myth 5: All you need to do to bust this myth is to spend a little bit of time with us. We are far from perfect. That is why we need Jesus so much. We know our limitations and shortcomings. The amazing thing is that God uses us anyway. You will most likely have the same experience if you sign up to become a Partners Advocate. God will use you to do things you thought were impossible.

See, people in Partners can be really nerdy and still find their place.

See, people in Partners can be really nerdy and still find their place.

Myth 6: Blogs are a waste of time.

Busting Myth 6: My friend thinks I am wasting my time writing a blog. It is up to you to prove him wrong! Sign up to become a Partners Advocate today and I will let him know he was wrong!

 

New life in many forms

New life is a miracle every time.

If you Google new life, you will, in less than a second, get six billion five hundred thousand sites. I am serious. Try it! That is almost one new life for every citizen in the world on Google. Not surprisingly, most sites are either churches or other places related to new life in Jesus. Some also write about new life in a new place, or new life after they almost died. I guess, since it is mentioned so often, new life is something many of us are longing for.

These days I am thinking about and observing new life daily. It comes with the season. Some weeks ago, Kristin and I planted seeds in small pots. Now they are sprouting and will be nutritions vegetables or colorful flowers. From the seeds come new life. On the road to the grocery store we pass a couple of farms where little lambs tumble on the meadows like cotton balls. Spring brings new life. In crude nests by the ocean close to our houses the geese have put their eggs, and now they are watching over them with their own lives on the line. Soon balls of fur will follow the adult geese out into the ocean, decorating it with new life.

Yesterday I got photos from Partners farm in Thailand. A cute little calf was born. She is a girl and has big ears and kind eyes. I was so happy to see those photos of new life being brought forth at our farm, confirming that with the life at the farm, new life will also be given to hundreds of people.

I heard a story today. In Kachin state, where a terrible war has been raging for more than three years Seng K lives with 1700 displaced people in a crowded camp. Life, the way it used to be, is but a memory. He is 57 years old and has worked with Partners for a while now, doing community support network. Mai also lives in the same camp as Seng K. Her husband has been away fighting for the freedom of their people for a long time. Mai had three children already, and now she expected twins.

Mai with her new babies and two of her other kids. Next to her is Seng K, the person who made it possible for Mai to go to the hospital (along with the generous people who gave money)

Mai with her new babies and two of her other kids. Next to her is Seng K, the person who made it possible for Mai to go to the hospital (along with the generous people who gave money)

 

To deliver twins can be scary under any circumstance. Think about how it would be to deliver, not one, but two babies, in a crowded and primitive clinic in a camp for displaced people. Even the staff at the clinic was pessimistic about the prospect of delivering the twins there. But, a few hours away there was a hospital where she would get proper care. The only problem was: Mai didn’t own a car, and she had no money for transportation. It would cost as much as 15 USD to get her there. That was a lot more money than Mai owned. 

The small community of people who had lost their homes and everything they owned, including family members, heard of Mai. They have no income and no reason to believe they will get an income any time soon.They are struggling to feed their own children. They live in the most basic conditions. And yet they were willing to help Mai! All of them gave a little bit of money, and soon they had the 15 USD she needed. Off she went, and the delivered two healthy babies. New life in the midst of death and sadness. What a reason that is to be hopeful!

Mai’s life is as hard, if not harder, than before. Now she needs to provide for five children, not just three. But even though it is hard, she knows this: She is surrounded by people who cares about her and her children. She has experienced that firsthand. My prayer is that the twins will grow up with a new life for Kachin state.

Happy spring!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,777 other followers