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So HAPPY 5 YEARS BLOG POSTING ANNIVERSARY…

To me… and more specifically, Irresistibly Fish…

For those of you who have journeyed with me for some or most of that time, thank you. As much as this is the online diary of my general musings, it has also been a place where i have hoped to challenge and wrestle and encourage and entertain others and every time you show up and read and especially when you engage through commenting or sharing pieces you particularly like it starts to feel like a community is growing.

The ultimate aim of having this blog is as stated in my tagline – Chewing the marrow out of life – you know the hard to reach but completely tasty bits – life to the absolute fullest in terms of God and Relationships and Humour and just general life and being people who Love well – i hope that you have experienced that over the years and will continue to.

LOOKING BACK

Without a doubt the two sections i enjoy most on this blog [and which have seemed to have the highest popularity again and again] are:

Taboo Topics – This has been a place to mostly invite people to share their stories on topics rarely spoken about both in church and often in general life. Particularly some harder experiences [like losing a baby, infertility, being a parent of a child when it's not been that easy and even singleness for some people] but also areas such as Adoption and Race which are not bad things in themselves, but which may have painful aspects linked to them. So many incredible stories and it has been so great to see the encouragement this has often been to people who might be going through the same thing but have not had a safe place to share their stories.

Relationships - From Single to Dating to Married as well as other aspects of relationship such as Mixed Race or Culture and of course Sex, these have been posts that have obviously related to so many different people in a variety of different ways and again it has largely been through inviting people to share their stories and things they have learnt along the way that have tended to be the most helpful.

In the Fun section, it is the Pearls before Swine strips that i share from time to time [my favourite comic strip by Stephan Pastis] and the absolutely ridiculous Dangerous Things You Can Least Expect videos my alter ego, brad Fish, puts out from time to time, that deserve special mention, although hands down my absolute funnest [to me] picture that i possess is this one of Cloud Man which makes me literally outloud laugh [or at least nose-snort] every single time:

cloudman

AND THE WINNER GOES TO…

Okay, so there is no winner – hopefully different posts resonate with different people and i really love it when people engage with posts and some great conversation happens in the comments section, which often leads to follow-up posts and inspiration for series and so on.

But there are posts which have proved popular than others and after 5 years of blogging, according to the WordPress stats, the Top 10 blogs in order of views are the following:

[1o] How much Sex in Marriage? [2500 views]

[9] Taboo Topics: Sex Before Marriage [Intro] [2673 views]

[8] Taboo Topics: Living with Disabilities – Meet Uel Maree [Spinal Cord Injury - Unfortunate diving accident] [2950 views]

[7] Taboo Topics: Sex in Marriage [Intro] [3143 views]

[6] Married People [and how to maybe do it even better] [3462 views]

[5] i kissed dating: the parts [4049 views]

[4]  Marriage through the years… part Intro [4424 views]

[3] How to raise your children as world changers: Meet Nigel and Trish Branken and their family [4770 views]

[2] How to save a marriage [before you need to] – the parts [4838 views]

So you guys are all about Sex and Marriage for the most part it seems?

Although in 5 years of blogging the absolute number one most visited, shared and popular post has been:

[1] Taboo Topics: Singleness [Intro] [5057 views]

i wonder what this list will look like five years from now as the blog continues to gain more traction and as our base of subscribers grows – i hope we will move to a time when this feels  a lot more like a community of friends and travellers trying to do the best thing with this life thing that we can.

i really do want to thank all of you who made it down this far and are a part of the community – every time you like and share and comment it ups the chances of an article or series being seen by more people and hopefully encouraging, challenging, humouring and more the people who you really care about.

MY FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY PRESENT

If there is something you can give me as a gift for this moment of celebrating five years, i would like to ask you for a SHARE. If there was a post on the top ten popular posts that particularly resonated with you then please stick it on your Facebook, Pinterest or Google + page or Twitterer it to all your followers. If there was a particular Taboo Topic that you found meaningful, then post that link and tag the people you think it will encourage. And if there was a relationship post or series, then stick a link on the page of three or four people you think might appreciate it. If you’re just here cos you’re a Brad Fish fan then choose your favourite ‘Dangerous Things You Can Least Expect’ video [which is probably this one!] and post it on your page and tag your friends who appreciate ridiculous to check it out.

Otherwise SUBSCRIBE to the blog and have each post link emailed to you directly, so you can choose which posts to check out and which to leave.

With 300 plus subscribers at the moment, if each one of you shared a post or series in your social media field, it would invite a lot of new people to come and check this out.

Finally… you might be wondering, why ‘Irresistibly Fish’?

Well FISH which has been my nickname since 1993 [i'm THAT old!] stands for Faithful In Serving Him [which is something i really do try to do with my life]

The ‘Him’ in there is Jesus. God. The One who gives my life meaning and fills me with the capacity to Love [which, yes, i can and need to do a whole lot better]

I try to live my life for Him and believe that it is the best way to really experience life to it’s absolute full. It is not always easy or straightforward. But it is always good. Even when it doesn’t seem to be.

That’s my experience anyways.

Happy 5 years to me. I hope you’ll be around for the next 5… and bring your friends! 

corina2

Most people in adoption circles shy away from adopting older children, some even strongly discourage it. “There is too much risk”, “they will have too much baggage” “there is so much psycological damage that you will have to deal with”.

I met the Kambers in 2009. I had no idea they would be my future adopted parents. I was 14 years old then. At that time they were just familiar faces that I labeled as neighbours. They went to church and loved Jesus, two things that were foreign to me at that point in my life. Carey Kamber swooped in weeks after I had become a Christian and offered the most genuine friendship I have ever had.

Earlier in that year Carey had been praying that God would give her a baby. The process of adopting from China was slow, tiring, and demanded patience. It hadn’t been working out the way they thought it was going to, and after a few years of waiting both Carey and Ernie were asking God for a baby. Just weeks after that the Kambers got a call: a baby had been abandoned at the church and they needed a home for him.

That began the process of Caleb’s adoption. I had the privilege to witness it all, not as his older sister, but as his neighbour. My friendship with the family grew and I really started to love them. Carey was my best friend. The more our relationship developed, the more I felt comfortable to share about the home that I had come from. Abuse, mental illness, substance abuse, neglect, and abandonment lead me to a reality of social workers, government institutions, court cases and moving from home to home before I should have even known about those things.  Though I had biological parents, I was an orphan at heart.

—– Fast forward a few months ——

Carey and Ernie were going to visit their sister in North Carolina. That trip entailed a 6 month old baby and nearly 4 hours of driving, and they asked me to come along with them to help take care of Caleb. On the first night that we were there we all sat down together and they told me what had been on their heart and what they wanted more than anything: for me to be their daughter.

I’m not even going to lie, it was weird. It was amazing, beautiful, overwhelming and everything felt right in that moment… and weird all at the same time. My 15 year old self couldn’t fully grasp it. “They want me to be their daughter?” Theirs. It felt so surreal.

After a hectic court battle and one of the most difficult days of my life, the Kambers were granted custody of me for 2 years. When that finished, I would be a legal adult. I was theirs. Within less than half a year they added a baby and a teenager to their family.

People say that adoption changes lives. The Kambers went against what most people say is wise – they adopted a teenager with tons of baggage and a completely misconstrued understanding of love. We went to counselling together. We fought a lot. I carried my understanding of family and love into their home: if they truly love me, they will leave me. I subconsiously tested them with that idea that had always been true for me. And yet they never left. They loved me when I was too difficult, too broken, too rebellious, too “psychologically damaged.” They gave me the space to flesh out my understanding of love, and then together we deconstructed it and replaced it with the reality of unconditional love.

The unconditional love that was shown to me through adoption has changed my life dramatically..

We are all orphaned at heart. We are all messed up and broken in some way, and our hearts were made to know unconditional love so that we can flourish into the people that we were made to be. Adoption does that. Adoption chooses despite brokenness. Adoption loves when it is difficult.

[For more stories from different perspectives of Adoption, click here]

 

moscarb

There have been two stories dominating my Facebook feed the last day or so [i'm not even going to touch on the Renee Zellwegger face thing - we created that circus!] and they are both ones i have tried to keep largely clear of. Until now.

OSCAR GOES TO…

The Oscar Pistorius sentencing saga [because if the Twitterer is to be believed, it WAS that] which has been lurking on news headlines stuck to lampposts, Tweet Hashtags and Facebook status updates, meant that the whole trial soap opera [because it really became that, i imagine that so many of the people glued to their screens might have forgotten at some stage that they were watching a murder trial] from a year or so ago, was brought back ‘for a new season’ complete with media attention and cliff hanger.

Soon there was  commentary happening all over the place on how just or unjust the sentencing was and comparing this case to other ‘less serious’ cases with bigger sentences and focusing on how soon he will be able to get off and so on.

In the midst of it all, there was a much forgotten woman, and murder [or culpable homicide] victim, named Reeva Steenkamp. Who, in many stories had simply become ‘the girlfriend’.

This article by Kat Lister on the Huffington Post provided helpful commentary in terms of reminding us that as much as the media [and many of us] made the whole thing about Oscar, the famous guy, the celeb, the international athlete, at the heart of the story was a woman who was killed – people lost a daughter and a sister and a friend. How this has “ruined Oscar’s career” should not even be up for discussion.

Within minutes of the sentencing there were jokes happening all over the internet, with the delightful Twitterer tag #ThingsLongerThanOscarsSentence leading the way, because ‘humour helps us deal with tragedy’ or some other crap like that.

The reason i avoided [as much as was possible] the trial from the beginning was because of the vile fact that because Oscar Pistorius was a celebrity meant that his case was going to be treated differently. Because, having lived through O.J.Simpson and other celeb murder trials, it was obvious that it was going to become entertainment from early on. Entertainment. A murder trial. Can we just take that in for a second?

THE MARK OF GRACE

Meanwhile, across in Americaland, Mark Driscoll had finally been relieved of his position heading up one of the larger church congregations over there. Another celebrity, some less serious but still completely significant crimes and misdemeanors. There had been a number of incidents over the past couple of years and more so in recent months and eventually someone saw fit to pull the plug on is ministry.

Then today a mate posted this video where Mark was attending a conference and was called on to stage by Robert Morris, who is one of the pastors helping him through this difficult time, with this quote from Morris who says, “We’ve always got two reactions to someone in the spotlight falling…. crucify them, or forgive them, like we’ve been forgiven.”

Having followed a little bit of the Mark Driscoll story, mostly through different articles people post or tag me in, that statement really concerned me to some extent. I finally got to watch the video clip this evening and they basically call him on stage, to a standing ovation, and give him the mic, so he can talk about how badly his family has it at the moment [which is a really tragic thing on the one hand, but after announcing that Mark was humbly attending the conference just like a normal person, they then allowed the spotlight to once again be put firmly on him].

My friend Micah J. Murray summed up my thoughts really excellently in his statement that reads, “When Jesus said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” he was talking about protecting vulnerable people from abusive religious leaders. He was NOT talking about protecting abusive religious leaders from accountability.'”

Yes, there absolutely must be grace and forgiveness for anyone who messes up [and especially one of our own, regardless of how 'our own' some of us might want to see him] but that does not mean giving someone licence to unrepentantly do the same things again.

AND ME

Because really, the only person i have any control over in this situation is myself.

With scenarios like the Oscar Pistorius trial, do i allow myself to be caught up in it until it becomes an entertainment thing and is that okay? i don’t think so.

Am i sharing, liking or retweeting the jokes that are being made at his [or maybe more accurately nameless Reeva's expense]?

Do i get caught up in the mistaken belief that this case should be any more important than any of the other hundreds [thousands?] of murder cases that are being brought to court in South Africa [some that were presumably delayed so that Oscar's could assume center stage]?

With a situation like Mark Driscoll, am i baying for his blood [not okay] or am i screaming that he should be forgiven and shown grace to the exclusion of any form of accountability, repentance, consequence to his actions [also probably not okay]?

Am i getting caught up in judging Mark Driscoll for his actions as if he was any worse than me? Or perhaps judging those who are judging Mark Driscoll and refusing to just let him be?

Both Oscar and Mark will stand before God one day and account for their actions. And i will do the same.

[For Micah J Murray's post, 'When we throw stones' which i believe is very helpful and clear, click here]

[For a post i wrote a while back after a Joel Osteen hoax on Throwing Stones, with some helpful question checks, click here]

My good friend, Linda Martindale introduced me to a friend of hers, Nkosivumile Gola at the TRC Re-Enactment meetings we both went to a week or so ago in Stellenbosch. When i heard that Nkosi had a blog i immediately asked him if he would consider writing a piece for mine.

Not to give him an easy ride, i posed this topic to him – the fact that for white people who do want to make a difference in South Africa [and there are many who are generally seeking to 'get it right'] the task can often seem so overwhelming. And so yes we need to look at restitution and reparation and especially in terms of land and economy disparity, but where do we start? Are there some first steps towards helping becoming part of a truly new and more equally balanced South Africa?

Meet my new friend, Nkosivumile Gola, and this is his response:

nkosi

Baby steps towards a really new South Afrika

This is the most difficult question for me as it is also very important. The difficulty in this question arises from the fact that there are many acts which the white people have done yet the condition of the black people remains the same. Also my fear and difficulty of this question arises from the fact that justice in South Afrika has been limited into a voluntary act which is totally a divorced and disbanded idea when reflecting it to the actual history of South Afrika. According to our history during the apartheid days whites were beneficiaries not because they supported apartheid or not but because they were white but today justice is thought to be voluntary act meaning those who want to live just may do and those who don’t feel like don’t have to, that is a problem and will not solve the problem. This voluntary justice triggers a situation where elitation amongst black people occurs, a situation where a certain number of people are turned into elites amongst many that are brutalised by the system. This voluntary justice causes a situation whereby the black people have no choice but to live through the white people’s shame, guilt and mercy. Now all the shame, guilt and mercy of the white people will never equal the cry and brutalisation of the black people. The emotional state of the white people will never bring about the change required in South Afrika where we can then begin to talk about equal opportunities. Justice should not be a voluntary act but it is something that should be done both by those willing and those who are not willing, justice should be done on the bases that it is right not because it works (in our eyes) or not, not because it pleases, tickles and or even bruising. Now my aim here is to try and avoid the re-occurrence of what has happened before.  

Build relationships

Now coming on what is it that the whites should do to (catalyse) the process of reconciliation in our country. I think it is of high importance that whites build these relationships with the black people and they must understand that by building these relationships with “particular” black people they are not doing anything to the overall pain of the black people. The black people are united by the wound which means we can only define them in plural form now there is no way that we can define them in a singular form. This means that when we dealing with the pain of the black people there is no black person as an individual but a black person as a unit. Though the black people are made up of individuals but singling them out of the unifying wound is a crime. Having white friends myself but my heart is rooted to the overall wounded black person. My heart remains loyal to that wound, I will remain nursing the black wound and if our friendship leads us into forgetting of this wound then it is of no help and we better understand there is no friendship in that. I love Biko’s definition of black; ”blacks are those who are by law or tradition politically, economically and socially discriminated against as a group in the South African society and identifying themselves as a unit in the struggle towards the realization of their aspirations”.

These relationships should be based on conversations about the past the present and the visions about the future. Conversation is a crucial part of the solution but only if it does not lead to liberalism (ignorance), meaning now these relationships should be the means to sharpen the black radical activism. I am aware of many white friendships that have led to radical black ignorance and I think this is one of the greatest injustices. Now conversations about the past are crucial as they are the ones that will inform why the present is in this fashion and they will bring about the possible solutions of the future. These conversations should be based on how does the continued white injustice in South Afrika play part in the present suffering of the black person and in that also informing that talking about white injustice is not the incitation of violence but a way to eradicate violence. Intentional Prayers also should be the crucial and the foundational part of these conversations. I then believe that these kind of relationships are healthy relationships as they are intentional about a better South Afrika. 

Activism amongst fellow whites

Amongst many whites themselves I don’t think there is a necessary voice to instigate the bringing about of the required change in South Afrika. I think 1994 have closed the door of the white people by reconciling the white people with the stolen and blood privilege. I think they need a revival of their conscience and there is no one who can do that better well than their own people. I don’t understand white people at times as they would be more concerned about rhino poaching, global warming and panda bear whatever yet they are so quite about the animalisation and thingification of the black people and we truly need a voice against that. White people needs resurrection of their conscience so that what they have seen as normal for years they would now see it as abnormal and inhuman and I think this white voice will be of great help against such. I have seen many pols and petitions that spoke about the release of Eugene Decock and many on global warming and so on yet I have never seen any petition not even one that talks of the black pain of dispossession in South Afrika. I don’t think the release of Eugen Decock will return the land of the black people ultimately the dignity of the black people. This makes me to question myself is this rhino poaching more important than the black child who sleeps without anything on their belly almost daily?, is this global warming more important than the low life expectancy of the black people? Will the release of Eugen Decock heal this black wound and play a role on reparations?

Social justice should be the main conversation in your circles

According to the Bantu tribes or should I say the Afrikan tribes power is responsibility and not comfort, I believe if we can all adopt into that then we can have a better South Afrika. In the olden days it is said that it was the community that raised a child meaning everyone was responsible for everyone else and he who have had a responsibility to the one who have not. Then it was impossible to even separate the one who have from the one who have not, that sounds familiar!!!! The book of Acts 2:44 tells us that “believers had all things in common” and further shows us this when the writer (Luke) exclaims to us that “there was no one lacking amongst them” (Acts 4:34). I do believe then that the God Immanuel, the God who is with us He is socially interested in both those who have and those who have not and it is the duty of he who have to be sensitive to the prompts of Immanuel so that we can all say in our church today there is no one lacking amongst us. I once listened to a preacher who was doing apologetics on a subject about poverty he said; “the church has enough today that there would be no one lacking amongst them” it was an AMEN for me there! It can only be the greed of some that causes some to be living under the swamps of poverty. Now because of to Jesus social justice is one of His main agendas as found in both the Lord’s Prayer and also in the book of Matthew 25:36-46 then I believe it should be one of our main agendas too, so whenever and wherever we are sitting lets discuss social justice.

Stop voting for and supporting DA!

I am aware that your vote is your choice yet if your choice furthers the black pain then look carefully into your choice again. DA is a white instrument to keep the status quo in South Afrika so that the situation of the blacks (not pigmentation but keeping in mind Biko’s definition) remains unchanging. If the DA was truly after the emancipation of the South Afrikan poor then they would have policies that are pro poor. The required change in South Afrika today will not come from people who wants to maintain the white status yet not overlooking the black pain because it is the very maintenance of the white status that is the actual black pain and that’s what DA does it maintains the white status. At this juncture we don’t need people who will say we want to solve the problem “but” because it is that very “but” that stretches the black wound and the DA is the actual embodiment of that “but”. Also at this moment in time we don’t need pro white organisations and their support in South Afrika as each and every structure thereof in this country is actually pro white. Therefore supporting DA in South Afrika is actually the instigation of the black wound. As for who to vote I will leave that to you, but the policies must be interested in what you claim to be after. The policies of the party that you are voting for must surely be pro poor.

Change your way of life

Without fully identifying with the black pain there will never be a pure, genuine and battling prayers that are projected to the black wound. There are many people who claim to be pro poor yet their lives proves to be divorced from the poor. Thomas Sankara (the president of Burkina Faso 1983-1987) when justifying his act of having no air conditioner in his office, driving the lowest costing car, attending his meetings in bicycles, cutting a huge portion of his salary and using public services like each and every one in his country he says “we cannot live luxurious lives yet we are leading the poor”. I think being pro poor then should be beyond the claims and be the very lives. Therefore living in Bishop Scot and claiming to be pro poor is one of the greatest lies. I think it is in these lies that leads to ignorance such that there are many people who says they are doing something in fixing the South Afrikan problem yet all they do is to rub off their own guilt. I think it is much easier to rub off your guilt by these cheap acts which includes soup (the soup kitchen justice) than it is to allow ones very life to be wasted for justice. Lives being wasted is Christ being lived because love is only expressed when life is being lay down for the next person. Therefore anyone missing out on this laying down of life that very person is missing out on the greatest commandment (Mat 22:38) and that should be the greatest sin.

Give fair wage to your domestic helpers!!! Do not be limited by the standards of this anti poor government but be pumped by the pro poor Christ in considering the wage for your domestic helper. When you considering the payment of your domestic helpers think of yourself first (love your neighbor as you love yourself); would you be able to live out of what you decide to give your helper? If not then why are you even considering giving it to someone else? More especially someone who could be a single parent with at-least five children. It is pretty sad that many white people don’t even know the families of their helpers, they are not even interested in the life of their employees (helpers) outside of work, this is cruel as it proves a perception of what was once said and believed “the blacks are as good as singing, dancing and digging”. You should play part in the education of the children of your domestic helpers, find out how you can help them. Be it if the help is morally, financially, emotionally or even psychologically but your help might go a long way. I do believe that you can also contribute a great deal in the local schools and help the up-coming generation to see you as humans and not as superiors and future employers as it was previously forcefully and violently suggested and currently is inherited by the younger generation. This will help a great deal and you will be seen as a fellow human being and it will also help you when you walking around Khayelitsha, there won’t be chants that are following you saying Umlungu, umlungu (white person) repeatedly.

[For other conversations and engagements concerning Race, click here]

Lily

To be a mom used to be something I dreamed of. From the time I was in elementary school I told people that I planned to have six kids (mostly girls with one or two boys thrown in). I regularly made and updated lists of my favorite baby names.

I grew up in a home where motherhood was valued and praised and since I have two siblings who are significantly younger than me I started practicing my mothering skills at a young age.

To be clear, there was never any pressure or expectation placed on me by my family that my calling in life was to be a wife and mother. I simply had a natural bent towards domesticity and nurture. I like cooking and baking and I love small children. I think I “get” them better than I get adults. Maybe this is because there are parts of childhood I’ve never outgrown – for example, the urge to stomp my feet when I am frustrated or to sing tuneless songs narrating what I’m doing or to be scared of things like balloons that might pop at any moment – so I understand where they’re coming from a lot of the time.

I started babysitting when I was twelve didn’t stop until I was 25. I taught 4-year old Sunday school class at my church all through college and after college I transitioned into full-time nannying, which is the closest you can get to parenting without actually having your own kids. (Of course, this varies from situation to situation, but in some of my jobs I did the grocery shopping, prepared meals, did homework and school projects, washed clothes, bought clothes, arranged play dates, bought birthday presents for parties, and attended school functions so I honestly think it’s fair to say that this was part-time parenting).

I met my husband at 18 and was married at 22. Our plan was always to wait a few years before we started our family, but I still wanted a big brood of kids and felt pressure not to wait too long. As I was nearing 25 and nothing was happening for me career-wise I started to think, “Maybe we should start having kids.” I believed that having kids would be meaningful and frankly, I believed I’d be good at it. It was something I’d always wanted to do.

And then, about two years ago, something in me changed. I can’t explain exactly how or why, but I woke up one day and I no longer felt the desire to have children. People joke that nannying is its own form of birth control. I don’t think it was that nannying made me stop wanting kids. But I do think nannying made me want to be the right kind of parent.

To be a mom, to really be a good mom, you must be willing to die to yourself and to invest the best of you into your children. I have a mom like that, so I know what it looks like. I have worked with different kinds of families and there is a profound difference between the parents whose priority is their children and who are willing to sacrifice their comfort, their careers, and their dreams to invest in their kids and the parents whose priority is themselves or their careers or the image they want to project. I don’t doubt that these second kinds of parents love their children. But based on my experience with their children, I don’t think they are being the kind of parents their kids need them to be.

I started to wonder why I had wanted a family in the first place. Why do most people have children? I don’t mean that in a flippant or cynical way. It’s something I asked very seriously. One of my deeply held beliefs is that WHY we do things matters tremendously. So I started to ask. Do I want children because I’m hoping they will give me a sense of purpose? Because it’s the next thing to cross off the list? Because nothing else in life is working out and this feels like the next logical step? Because I’m afraid of missing out? Because I believe it will express a unique kind of love with my husband? Because I’m curious about what a mini-me-and-Jonathan would be like?

For many people, the desire to have kids is probably some combination of those things. And that’s not necessarily wrong. I’ve just come to believe that it’s not ENOUGH. For me, there has to be a deeper sense of calling and with that a commitment to sacrificing whatever is required to parent well.

Understanding what parenting really means and what it requires has convinced me that it isn’t something that should be undertaken lightly. I believe that God took the desire for children away from me for a season because it isn’t the right time. Not long after I’d had this total change of heart, the opportunity for my husband and I to move overseas came up. Our move abroad has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made, and we wouldn’t have made it if we’d had a child or even been trying to have one.

I don’t know if this feeling will last forever or if God will bring back that desire again at the right time. I do believe that God is ultimately in control of my family and that whether or not we have children depends on him much more than on me. But as much as it depends on me, I want to make sure I pursue motherhood for the right reasons. And if I should get pregnant unintentionally, then I will embrace that as a clear sign of God’s timing and will trust that he will equip me for what he’s calling me to.

I used to long for motherhood, but now to be (or not to be) a mom is something I strive to hold with open hands. I want to keep it in proper perspective, neither looking at it as a means of personal fulfilment nor refusing it out of fear or selfishness. To be a mom is a high calling, but it isn’t everyone’s calling. I want to be sure I’m listening to mine.

Lily Dunn is an ice cream connoisseur, a Disney fanatic, and a fellow raiSIN hater trying to live an authentic, intentional life. She lives and teaches with her husband in Daegu, South Korea and blogs at lilyellyn.wordpress.com. Follow her on Twitter @lilyellyn

[For a whole range of other stories arising from the phrase 'To Be A Mom', click here]

Without getting too technical, the simplest way to explain S.Q.C.P.

Cerebral Palsy – injury to the brain which controls movement of the body

Quadriplegia (or Quadriplegic) – all four limbs are affected

Spastic – spasticity in the body is high, affects the muscles, pulling the body in awkward directions

My Little-Big Sister

My little sister Gabriella, was born with Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy, three and a half years before I arrived in this world. Although Gaby is technically my older sister, she will forever be “my baby sister”

sabrina 

Most people wonder why they were placed on earth, what are they meant to be doing, what is their purpose? My purpose is… Gaby! (well, I think so at least!)

My parents have told me how Gaby used to cry every night before I was born and as soon as I arrived, she stopped. She had to be the big sister now. I have seen many pictures of Gaby lying next to me with her arm over me or rocking my Snug & Safe (baby chair) on the floor. She was looking after me!

As we grew older I never really saw a difference between Gaby and I. We were sisters who would play together just as any siblings would. Okay, our playing might have been very different to the norm but it was fun and hey, I never knew any different. Gaby and I did everything together, where she went I went, what she wore I wore. We were pretty much like twins. I was never apart from my sister.

It only started getting harder when I started school. People with disabilities were never spoken about unless you knew of someone personally. It was a very hush hush subject and this is where the problem came in.  Here I was, a bright cheerful girl who was so proud of my big sister that I was so confident to tell everyone about her… and that’s when those who were never exposed to people with special needs came in and changed my world. They would say mean, nasty and really hurtful things about my sister. That is when I became defensive about Gaby. No one, and I mean no one would ever be allowed to speak about my sister like that ever again. From then on out I became Gaby’s defender and protector. If someone even looked at my sister in a negative way, I would have it out with them. I did not care – Gaby deserved to be treated with the same respect as everyone else.

As I grew older I started becoming more confident and knowledgeable about Cerebral Palsy . This allowed me to approach anyone and tell them Gaby’s story and how she is no different to you or I. Gaby just needed more assistance, patience and understanding. This is why my family started Gabriella Centre – so that Gaby could have the chance to succeed in life, no matter how great or small. No one knows which way their life will lead, but one thing is for sure, I will always put my “little big sister”, first.

[Written by: Sabrina Del Fabbro]

[For more information on the Gabriella Centre, take a look at their website at www.gabriellacentre.org.za]

[For more stories of People Living with an assortment of Disabilities or Special Needs, click here]

Is this the best ever Pearls before Swine cartoon strip ever made?

Quite possibly yes although it does require you have a bit of a history of foreknowledge to fully appreciate it.

And to be honest, as much as i knew the skit it comes from, i had never watched the original til this very moment and it is incredible.

Abbott and Costello and if you haven’t seen this, do yourself a favour – this is insanely pulled off:

Now that you’ve got that under your belt, check the greatness that is Stephan Pastis and Pearls Before Swine:

Pearls beforeWho

[For more great Pearls before Swine strips, click here]

 

 

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