Friday, November 05, 2010
a pastor friend of mine felt a twinge in her chest last week. she got a mammogram last wednesday. found out she had aggressive breast cancer in both breasts friday. yesterday she had a double mastectomy.
nyah and i went to visit her today. i wasn't sure if i should go - i wasn't sure if i wanted to go...i kept telling God to show me if i should go. miraculously my sermon was completed and a visitation canceled...there was no reason not to and a deep urge to go to the hospital led me there.
as we drove up highway 9 the fog was still hanging around in nooks and crannies of the valley...when we arrived into the room and some other pastor friends were just leaving. the smile on my friend's face was huge. "did you hear the good news?" she said. "do you mean other than Jesus Christ risen from the dead?" i replied. "yes!"
amazingly, there was no trace of cancer anywhere else in her body. she is clean. and as we sat on her bed - the three of us - and talked about God's goodness, she ministered to me. she reminded me of the great love God has for me...she asked about a couple of issues in my parish that she knew about...she recited to me an amazing poem about perspective that she had written. she played with my baby. she received me with hospitality into that dark day with the fog playing hide and seek outside the window and hope springing forth into the vacancy of her chest.
as nyah and i left, i smiled. God had led me to that place as much for me as for my friend. her witness to me encouraged and strengthened me, even as she was dealing with such loss and trauma. now that is some good news.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
so i'm sure if there were ever a perfect excuse for not keeping up on the ole' blog it is: I JUST GAVE BIRTH! 17 weeks ago nyah ione burst forth into the world and nothing will ever be the same again. i am SO thankful!
-seeing her for the first time and being so surprised by everything - her size (21 inches and 9 lbs. 7 oz), her hair (LOTS of it), her cry, her noises...life is a wonderful surprise!
-feeling the most intense love that a human can feel for another...i mean, i really LOVE my husband...but this love is amazingly different...so unique and so wonderful...
-getting that first stretch of sleep that lasted more than 3 hours.
-watching her eyes turn from one shade of blue to another...
-getting to be exclusively at home with her for 6 weeks and then getting to bring her to church with me (with the help of generous "grannies" who volunteer to hold her and play with her).
-hearing her laughter for the very first time (i cried).
-watching her be so proud of herself when she stands up.
-the smile i get when i first see her in the morning... huge. world changing. smile.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
so i'm fasting from facebook for lent which explains why i'm suddenly such a prolific blogger...but who cares why, i'm just going to enjoy it while it lasts...
here is a list of some other wonderful things...little things that make me happy:
-10 year old parishioners giving me dog walking fliers to put in people's mailboxes at church - 50 cents for a half hour, $1 for an hour
-speaking of dogs, my dog sprinting across a field toward me - tongue and cheeks flapping in the wind with abandon
-sunshine in january, february, and march....ahhhhhhh....
-breakfast with friends
-my husband eating a bug...yes, there was a bug on the butter that i noticed earlier today. i made a mental note to clean off the butter tray and throw away the rest of the butter tonight when i got home from church. got home from church and guess what....butter gone. bug gone. i asked beau, "did you see the bug on this butter?" answer, "no." i laughed hysterically for a few moments. he smiled.
-gardens coming alive
-trees blooming (i don't care if they do make me sneeze)
-ferry rides on clear days
-arby's roast beef sandwiches (don't judge me, i'm pregnant)
-my baby girl kicking me...even when it is 3 a.m.
-answers to prayer
-free plumbing and plumbing fixtures...beau scored a free toilet for the addition today.
-my macgyver husband who will not let a simple thing like getting locked out of the house get him down - he'll just remove a window and hop in.
that is all. you can go back to facebook now, i'm going to bed.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
i am 25 weeks pregnant. that means i am a couple of weeks into my sixth month and final trimester. this is scary. this means that within 12 weeks my little girl will be fully in the world - pooping, crying, squirming around in my arms (not in my belly)...this fact is at once exhiliratingly exciting and terrifying.
but my excitement and terror is not what this post is about. this post is about me getting fat, or, er... "growing." yeah, i am only 6 months along and i have already gained 30 lbs. now for those of you who have not had a baby lately, the recommended TOTAL weight gain for pregnancy these days is between 15 and 30 lbs. yeah, three months to go and i am already at the top of the "should gain" scale.
my doctor assures me that everything is as it should be. i still fit in my same size - albeit pregnancy attire, my belly is growing at a normal rate, and the offending weight gain seems to be mostly an effort by my body to feed my yet to be born daughter (if you don't get this subtle hint, don't ask). but even with my doctors platitudes, i still feel like a bit of a porker. i have always been naturally thin. just this last year was the first time that i have ever been in the category ranked "thin/normal" rather than "thin" on the weight/height ratio scale. i have always exercised and been fairly reasonable about what i eat. but i have also had the freedom to eat sweets and other things when i wanted.
perhaps because of the aforementioned freedom and perhaps because i am simply a member of the human race, but i do not like diets. i am not good at diets. i love sweets. especially baked goods. and ice cream. and twix bars (this is pregnancy's fault - normally i'm not that into candy). so when my doctor suggests just cutting out a few calories here and there, i balk.
i am seriously skeptical of her when she says things like, "just ask for it without whip cream or ice cream," is she serious???? or my friend/yoga instructor who suggests, "just eat lots of fruit, you know, smoothies with yogurt and sweetened with a little bit of honey." does she honestly eat that as dessert???
when they say stuff like that i just smile at them and think, "yeah right." is that bad of me? beau thinks i should start practicing now being a good example of eating for our child. i want to be a good example for eating, but does that mean i have to have smoothies for dessert?
...i think i'll worry about it later and for now just eat this miniature twix bar and get back to planning the good friday service.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
i will spare anyone reading this any laments or apologies for not writing the past 9 months or so...as you can see from the picture above, i've been busy.
for six months i have had this precious one growing inside of me. she sapped all of my energy the first three months as she began to grow, but as of late she just makes me very hungry and kicks a lot.
below is something that i shared with the wesley conference crowd at NNU a couple of weeks ago. it was a wonderful trip mostly because the speakers and seminars were complimented perfectly with time with my wonderful nampa family.
Originally presented in devotional form to the
2010 NNU WESLEY CONFERENCE
By Rev. Bethany Hull Somers
My congregation and I are about to embark on new territory for all of us. I am their senior pastor and I am 5 months pregnant. It is a pretty amazing thing to me to be pregnant and be a pastor and to hear my parishioners call me, “momma.” They are so excited because not only is their pastor going to have a baby but their pastor is really going to give birth to the baby herself!! It is unusual, but they think it is the coolest thing ever, and so do I.
Being pregnant has made me a lot more aware of things than I was before. I am more aware because I am thinking constantly of this little life that has invaded me and is growing inside me and will use my life for hers until it is time for her to get her first taste of air. I think of her almost every moment. I think of her with every decision I make. Suddenly, when I am walking my dog and a large truck drives by and spews toxic fumes into the air where before I might just be slightly annoyed, now I think, I wonder how this is affecting my baby girl. When I sit down to eat dinner I focus more on the greens and less on the cheese sauce and onion rings because it will help her grow – despite how much I love cheese sauce and onion rings. When I am tired, I rest…which is something I hardly ever do for myself. But for her – I do it…if I’m tired, maybe she’s tired. I realize at just five and a half months pregnant that I would do anything for this little girl. I would eat anything; I would go through anything – even experiencing firsthand the curse of Eve and the subsequent sleepless nights of babydom. I would, without even thinking about it, die for her and I haven’t even held her in my arms yet.
As I have reflected about the experience of another being inhabiting my body I could not help but start to think about it theologically – I am a pastor after all and that is what we do. We draw connections between experience and God constantly looking for the Spirit in the world. As I have meditated on the fact of this life growing inside me, I have been thinking about the concept of Theotokos – the God bearer. Originally this Greek term was used to describe the most famous pregnant woman ever – Mary! She was ultimately and literally God bearer as she carried the Messiah into the world. But later, it has been used by Christian theologians as a way to describe the Christian work and experience of bearing God into the situations and circumstances of everyday life. It describes the act of birthing the Kingdom through the love and hope of Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit. It became a way to describe not just Mary, but all disciples of Christ. Indicating the glorious opportunity we have to allow Christ to inhabit us.
As I thought about being a Theotokos I started to realize how little I normally think about being that for God in the circumstances in my life. I realized the stark contrast between how much I think about my baby girl – when I eat, when I sleep (I have dreams about her), when I wake, when I preach, when I sit down and my back hurts and when I rise up and my back hurts and so many moments in between. I must confess, I do not think of Jesus as often. And yet my job as God bearer to all whom I come in contact with has been in play for far longer than five months and far after my little girl grows up and has children of her own, I will still have Christ in me.
So I began to wonder and many good things come from wondering. I began to wonder, what if we, as Christians, thought about God as much as women who are pregnant think of the lives that are growing inside them. What if we thought about Him when we sat to eat, when we woke in the morning, what if we dreamed dreams about the Kingdom, what if we thought of God when we made every decision - from what to eat and how to consume given our place in the world and in the grand scheme of God’s justice and to where to walk – in the comfortable, sterile neighborhoods, or the out of the way places where the hurting go to hide. What if for as long as we had days to live and breath to taste, we took as seriously this job of God bearer as I do being pregnant with this little girl?
The amazing thing about being a God bearer is that although the first one was a woman, you do not have to be a woman to bear Christ into the world. Although we ladies get all the “fun” of morning sickness, warping bodies, kicks to the ribs in the middle of the night, and the final terrifying culmination of gestation, men can participate in the bearing of life in their role as theotokos. Each of us – male or female - can be thoughtful to the life of Christ in us – which as Colossians 1 proclaims is the hope of glory! My prayer for us as a church is that we do each thing with the conscious thought of Christ in us. My hope is that when we make our decisions about where to go, what to do, what to say, and how to love based on this fact of God in us.
I am so thankful to be a part of a denomination that is so pregnant with the LOVE of God and imagine how it will infect a hurting and dying world with the hope of glory. With Jesus Christ, God with us, in us, for us. Hear now these words about YOU from the book of Colossians, chapter one verses 25-27:
5I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
it is 12:14 a.m. i am not going to bed because i am sure as soon as i get to sleep my husband will rumble into the driveway pumped from watching the new transformers flick and i will be awakened to stories of robots alternately destroying and saving the world. while beau got his robot fix, i spent my evening making food for my darling but insatiably thirsty hummingbirds (they like my 3 cups water to 1 cup sugar recipe better than my neighbor's 5 cup water to 1 cup sugar), doing laundry and watching a very odd documentary about aging hippies in india entitled, hippie masala.
all of these boring tid bits about my life are compliments of the fact that it is 12:17 a.m. and i am trying not to sleep and that this is the calm before the storm in many ways for our household. friday i leave for general assembly for the week and as my plane flies away the summer roars off at break neck pace. general assembly, holidays, community gardens, family reunions, church events, book clubs, studies, mission trips, and a behemoth house addition project loom in the horizon. as these inevitabilities loom, i try to breath deeply and not get too stressed. as a goal oriented person i am normally most happy directly after the mountain top is reached...after the project completed...during the closing benediction. up until the point of accomplishment i am all energy and determination - striving for the finish line. this summer will be a challenge for me to not worry about not having a patio for a few months, be patient with my precious plants being moved to temporary pots, and take each challenge at church with grace and endurance. perhaps when i am most stressed i can have patience enough to slow down and make food for the hummingbirds who are even more hyper than i am and watch them take a break to eat.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
it was a little more than a year ago that we lost a good friend - david nichols - to leukemia. i can hardly believe more that 365 days have past since his death. it has been a tough twelve months trying to grapple with missing him, seeing his little family - his wife and two girls - trying to pick up the pieces of life and move forward without him, and just hurting with the pain of loss.
last week i had a dream about david. i love dreams. the rules of our "normal" world never apply in dreams. in dreams i can fly. in dreams i can chat with people who have passed away. in my dream david was holding tia who was just a baby when he died. she was playing with his face and he was smiling at her and whispering words of love. when i saw him i said, "dave, we've missed you so much!" he and i chatted for a while and then he told me he had something important to tell me. i could feel my body starting to wake up at this point and i was desperately trying to stay in my dream so that i could hear words of wisdom from my friend who is in the fullness of God's presence. i forced myself to stay in the dream and he said to me, "you need to know that you never have to be afraid." and then i woke up.
never fear. this from a young man who died at the age of 26 and left a young wife and two small children. never fear. truly on this holy week we can know beyond all doubt that we never need to fear. Christ has conquered death and owns eternity. and, as a friend of mine says, "if He owns eternity then he owns the next hour and if He owns the next hour then He owns the next minute." we need not fear. not death, not life, not loss of job, not loss of house, not broken relationships - nothing can stand between us and our hope in Christ Jesus.
i pray that this Good Friday and Easter Sunday you are confronted again with the Savior who reaches across the chasm of fear and offers Himself...do not be afraid.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
beau and i spent a couple of days in our nation's capital this weekend. we visited with dean, laura, reyna, moe & peanut. we had a blast. although we were only there for two days, we were alble to see a lot - smithsonian style (i tried to take pictures with the dinosaurs but beau was too embarrassed) - and CHILL a lot at the hull/cheng household.
it was so surreal and beautiful to see my baby brother as a dad...he is a great one. i'm not suprised in the least and i am so proud of him. reyna violet is such a sweet and beautiful little girl. she is a beast - can already lift her head at 7 weeks and eats constantly. she loved her aunt beth and uncle beau which is a smart move on her part!
family is a gift and dean and laura are particular blessings to us. i pray that reyna gets a brother half as cool as dean...
Thursday, March 05, 2009
last night i baptized a baby. i told those gathered that the ancient waters of baptism are a sign that we belong to God. i asked the parents who gave this little one to be baptized - and they said, "we do."
i took the hospital issued coffee cup that the nurse gave me and i put my hand in, poured the water three times over the little eyes that will never open. i baptized him in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. as the entire room wept i said the only thing i knew: that this little one has only and will only ever know pure love. from his mother's womb to the Father's arms.
i kept my tears at bay until i got home...and then let them mix with the rain that was falling. face to heaven - where that little one is...