Culinary Treat

I commented earlier on all the wonderful help we have received since our car accident and especially as we recover from injuries sustained. Last evening we enjoyed a unique and sweet expression of care from one of Jay’s co-workers whose wife evidently is a phenomenal Vietnamese cook.

Jay’s friend at work told him yesterday morning that in light of what had happened with the wreck, they wanted to do something for us and that if Jay was willing to drop by their house on the way home, his wife would have freshly made egg rolls waiting for him to take home to all of us for supper. Wow! As promised, Jay arrived here a little after 6pm with a huge pan of crispy, just-cooked egg rolls which we proceeded to dig into heartily. They were SO DELICIOUS! What a fantastic treat. Even the kids (well, two of them) enjoyed this meal, and we had fun using all different sorts of dipping sauces to eat our egg rolls. We had our fill, and there were even some left-overs to enjoy at a later time.

We continue to be truly touched by all the different outpourings of care and help we receive from so many different people.

A Word from the Lady of the House

It would appear Jay has largely been keeping our family blog going (as he has been largely keeping alot of other things going around our household since the wreck and my injuries). But since I can type, I figure I should pitch in and and offer something to our faithful readers too!

It is not enough to write it here, but I would like to also publicly thank the multitude of people who have given of their time, energies and hearts to aid us in this rather challenging episode of our lives. I cannot believe we are still receiving meals regularly, having people care for our kids, grocery shop for us, drive our kids to school, and even stop in to do dishes and laundry and such. It is truly humbling to see the outpourings of love and deeds just continue. And, believe me: it is so encouraging to us, as we are not yet able to do on our own all that we would “normally” do to care for ourselves and our children.

I echo Jay in the thought that this past week and a half has been stunningly hard, and each day seems to bring another hardship, on top of the obvious “recovering from a car wreck” physical and emotional and logistical challenges. Jay continued to get sicker over the weekend and Monday morning saw him at the doc’s, where he was diagnosed with a whopper of a sinus infection on top of tummy issues. I seem to have succumbed to the Nicolas tummy bug on Sunday, so for the past two days I have dealt with that, and tried to cope with hardly any food intake, while being pregnant (not a good combination!).

This evening when Jay called home to tell me he was coming down with a bad migraine, it felt like the last straw. He has bravely worked through illness, and utter exhaustion, and done remarkably – I am so thankful and proud of him for the way he has cared for all of us – but there is no working through a migraine. And with all that has fallen upon his shoulders of late, I felt so distressed that he must bear yet one more burden. On top of this, he is still the main care-giver in the evenings due to some of my physical limitations, so having him out of commission for the night raised a whole host of issues: how would the children get bathed? the dishwasher emptied? everyone to bed? Stuff that normally I would just do on my own is not an option right now, and so it brought yet another hurdle to overcome, and it just felt like too much.

I fell apart emotionally, wondering why all of this has to happen just now. Well, within half an hour I had two sweet angels of mercy whom I will just call Jamie and Steph, on my doorstep to help. They fed my children dinner, emptied my washer, cleaned my kitchen, bathed my kids, helped me put them to bed, including songs and stories, and then proceeded to wash and fold more laundry. And aside from all their physical help, their presence was such a comfort to me, and to Jay. I heartily thank them for giving us their evening, for ministering to us so willingly. And I am so grateful for friends who love us enough to be here at a moment’s notice to care for our physical needs. Thank you!!

All this week while Jay’s Mom is out of town (she has continued to help us tirelessly every day through all the sickness, esp taking care of little Nicolas – thank you to her and to Dad, John for all the time she’s spent on our behalf!!) we have different friends who are hosting Nicolas for the day, to help care for him since I cannot yet lift him, drive, or bend, etc. He has had a great week thus far with all these fun and loving folks, and we are glad for their help too. There are also many friends helping with Abigail and Jonathan, taking them to parks, ponds, lunch, having them to their homes to play, and just generally helping them to enjoy being kids even if Mommy is not yet up to playing and keeping up with them as much as she’d like.

It is very late and I must get to bed, but I do so this evening with a heart full of thankfulness for all the blessings we have received and continue to witness as a result of the Body of Christ loving us and caring for us. God has continued, even with everything that has gone on, to provide for our every need, not always in the way we might have hoped or planned, but often in an even better way. Thank you to everyone who is a part of that provision – we love you and are grateful for you!

When it rains, it pours

The rain has turned into a deluge, in two senses. First, our situation has seemingly gotten worse, not better, as we’ve dealt with significant illness this past week. Jonathan developed some sort of horrific cough and a fever this past weekend, which lingered for several days. Then on Monday, Nicolas spiked a fever, threw up, and started having horrible diarrhea. Though he only threw up a couple more times (Tuesday night), he continued with the overall problems for a few days. Now I seem to have gotten quite sick… not good.

In this downpour of discouragement, we have seen grace abound, raining down on us in equal measure. We continue to receive wonderful meals from folks at both our church and Abigail’s school, our children are being driven to and from school each class day by others, and we continue to receive much kind concern from all those with whom we interact.

Idolater = corpse?

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group at church on Psalm 115. As an interesting aside, the invitation came about three days prior to the car crash, and I was specifically asked to focus on verses 9 to 11 and the idea of God as our shield. My preparation was greatly disrupted in one sense, yet in a way I was far better prepared than I could have achieved through mere study.

Anyway, while doing the actual talk I noticed a feature of the text that I had previously missed. Here’s a brief outline of sorts I had drawn up.

A Psalm 115:1-3 — God’s glory challenged/answered
B Psalm 115:4-8 — idolaters like idols (inert, unfruitful)
C Psalm 115:9-11 — Trust in the Lord (he is your shield)
B’ Psalm 115:12-16 — God blesses, all is fruitful
A’ Psalm 115:17-18 — those who praise the Lord, those who don’t

So who are the dead that don’t praise the Lord (Psalm 115:17)? I’d originally thought this referred to those who had actually died, fitting in with some of the general statements earlier in the Old Testament prior to a more specific doctrine of life after death and resurrection becoming normative.

But that seems to miss the point of the psalm. Who challenges God’s glory at the start of the psalm? Idolaters. And how does the psalm describe idolaters? As dead people. If you read Psalm 115:5-7 as a riddle to someone, they would probably think you were talking about a corpse, and Psalm 115:8 declares that idolaters become like their corpse-idols.

Such a reading firms up the chiastic structure and helps us read verses 12-16 in their proper context: as an answer to the lifelessness/fruitlessness of idol worshippers. What a great summary of creation and redemption! All creation is created for life, for fruitfulness, for people. Think of Genesis 1 and the creation mandate. And this purpose is found in redemption, through the trust of God and the scorning of idols. God is life, and in him we have our life.

This approach to Psalm 115 also seems to lend some nice detail to Jesus’ call to those who have ears to hear, tieing in with Isaiah 6.

Crash, update 1

Thanks for all the thoughts, prayers, and help. Tricia and I have been amazed by the outpouring of concern and care this past week. We’ve got rides lined up for the boys to get to preschool, rides for Abigail to get to kindergarten, the laundry is done, meals continue to arrive… it’s incredible.

We’ve both felt that this whole ordeal would be much more manageable if it was just the two of us, rather than the five of us. But I suppose that’s the point. I’m teaching a class on communion right now in Sunday School in which we look at stories about food from the Old Testament (borrowing heavily from Peter Leithart’s Blessed Are the Hungry). When discussing Genesis 1 and the fact that God created man hungry and ended the creation week by presenting a menu of sorts, a gentleman commented (warning: not an exact quote), “perhaps, contrary to our notions of independence equaling a more prefect state of being, dependence is actually godly”.

Tricia has had some good days and some bad days, but overall is doing well. Her mother joined us today and will be staying for several days, allowing me to return to work (thanks to Hannah and Paula for helping today so I could get into the office). It looks like it will be a long time before Tricia can manage the children on her own, but her level of comfort is improving nicely and we are learning to cope quite well.

One bit of great news: it looks as though the other party in the wreck is doing well. The police released our vehicle on Monday, so I went down to the pound to retrieve our stuff. We’re also making gradual progress on the insurance.