Thursday, December 26, 2013


The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the verb groan as, “to utter a deep moan indicative of pain, grief, or annoyance.” Groaning took on a new life for me during childbirth. Did I know what it meant before that? The beauty, the mystery, the power behind a groan.

John Eldredge writes in his book Desire, “How can we live without groaning? If we do not give our ache a voice, it doesn’t go away. It becomes the undercurrent of our addictions. Pleasure becomes necessary in larger and larger does, like morphine.” Childbirth is suppose to be painful….and it’s only through the pain and grief of child birth, do we give birth to our wonderful children.

My first experience in childbirth was surprisingly easy. I have pictures of me smiling through each contraction. And only after 20 hours of active labour (and stuck at 9 cm dilation) did we realize that something had to be wrong.

Edredge’s writing continues with, “ The paradox of grief is that it is healing; it somehow restores our souls, when all the while we thought it would lead us in despair. Control is the enemy; grief is our friend.”

Remaining in control was my life; planning for perfection was my life. I had to let go. It’s too simple to write, to say, “let go”. What are we doing when we’re letting go? And when we start the process and admit it’s time to “let go”…. What happens?

In that moment of childbirth, I had to “let go” of myself, so I could let my son’s birth story take it’s shape. I had to step aside, so that a new life could begin, I had to step aside, so that the new life could unfold in the way it was meant….without my plans, my need for perfection, my expectations….it had nothing to do with ME.

But I needed help….and that’s okay. That’s how my journey had to start. It makes so much sense to me now. I asked the nurse to break my water, I allowed myself to totally let go in front of the birthing team….I allowed the epidural. I let go of my control, I collapsed ….I groaned ….my son was born.

That was the beginning.

Eldredge writes: “Grief is good. It is cleansing. It undoes my world - and that is the best part of it. I need to be undone; simple undone. No regrouping. We need to mourn; it is the only way our hearts can remain both free and alive in the world. “

I was still afraid of becoming undone. Only in the process of birthing my third child did I come closer to understanding that I could let myself be undone. If I surrendered, God would not let me fall into despair. 

I spent quite a bit of time during my third pregnancy trying to prepare for (in truth, I was trying to avoid) the (day three) postpartum blues. Because of rapidly changing hormone levels, it is very common for women to become tearful and “blue” on day three after giving birth. I remembered how horrible it felt after my second child was born. I could feel the hormones surging through my body, leaving behind a terrible ache. It was DESPAIR and I was afraid. So during that second pregnancy, I ignored any spiritual healing God was offering and hid behind anti-depressants. I don’t regret my choice. And I don’t condone the use of anti-depressants….I love those little pills. At the time, I just wasn’t ready, maybe, not strong enough to face the grief and surrender.

So pregnant with my third child, I didn’t want to go through that all over again! But this time, when I asked for help on how to navigate through that crisis, I was told to let it happen. Ugh. My midwife said I should rent some sad movies, sit with a box of Kleenex and let it all out. Not happy with her advice, I turned to my best friend (who is also a Brain Gym Consultant). I asked for some exercises that would help me by-pass day three and post-partum blues. She laughed, took my hands and said, “Let it happen. It’s going to happen.” She suggested I try not to stop it; instead, I should embrace it, watch it happen, and know that it will end. Eldredge writes, “We must allow a time for sorrow to do our own personal sowing. I see no other way to care for our hearts. …. Don’t run from suffering. Embrace it.”

I surrendered. I embraced my grief. I groaned! And I got through it, with no lingering ache to haunt me. Surrender has brought me peace.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Desire by John Eldredge

So we've moved (I know, I haven't written much about that, but I plan to….eventually….living it is more than I can handle right now….I don't have the energy to write about it).

As I was looking for something, among all the boxes, I came across the book "Desire" by John Eldredge. An old book of Richard's. "The journey we must take to find the Life God offers" is written under the title. I hate travelling…okay, I don't hate it….but with 4 kids, travel isn't fun. But I love following psychological journeys….I'm always looking for myself and constantly wonder about the life God planned for me….am I on the right path? What am I going to be when i grow up? How am I going to get there? And occasionally, I wonder if it is even possible….to be truly content….without that longing…I wondered if the waiting was for something that is not possible in this world….

And so I'm reading this book…and I'm impressed with Mr. Eldredge's knowledge and ability to make sense of it all. And so so grateful for his ability to put a lot of what I had been thinking into words and i now know that I am not alone in my thoughts. Others are thinking these crazy things too.

Eldredge writes that Augustine emphasized, "The whole life of a good Christian is a holy longing….that is our life, to be exercised by longing." Eldredge explains that we need to find contentment without being filled, become comfortable with the mystery in our journey, "we have to let it go".

"Contentment is not freedom from desire, but freedom of desire. Being content is not pretending that everything is the way you wish it would be, it is not acting as though you have no wishes. Rather, it is no longer being ruled by your desires."

"The things we do to avoid the ache are always worse in the end than the ache itself….every addiction comes from the attempt to get rid of the ache."

"we have to let it go…"
"groan inwardly" while we "wait".
"To wait is to learn the spiritual grace of detachment, the freedom of desire. Not the absence of desire, but desire at rest".

Waiting…..I'm working on that, been working on that for many years. And looking back, I can see how that's always been a tough lesson for me. I can see now how God kept thowing me that card and I kept trying to avoid it. Wait, wait wait…..

Another (life lesson) that i have finally grasped is the ability to groan and be okay with that…..

"and groaning…." Eldredge also writes about that in his book. And I will write about it in another post.

Good night all!

Saturday, December 7, 2013


I'm always searching for the next best chocolate, but lately, ingredients have become more important to me than taste….after all, I did eliminate chocolate from my diet two years ago….while nursing Jane and trying to get a handle on her food allergies. I survived….I gave up chocolate and survived….true story!

But, lucky for me, Jane is not allergic to chocolate, but we do (both) have sensitivities to soy, so the search for soy free chocolate commenced! That was difficult, because most chocolate bars seem to contain an ingredient called soy lecithin. This "preservative" seems to be in everything. Soy lecithin is a waste product from the soybean processing. When disposing this waste product became an issue, scientists where called in to solve the problem….I guess the solution was to put it in our foods….

Okay, so I found some soy-free chocolate, but then I read the (fair trade, organic) chocolate article on the David Suzuki site and….remembering a documentary I saw about kidnapped children working on cocoa plantations…..searching for chocolate has become very difficult and I've been thinking twice about going to some of my favourite chocolate shops.

So I went out in search of fair trade certified organic chocolate with no preservative (no soy lecithin). Luckily, the fair trade certification process also prohibits GMOs! The last requirement on my list, was to search for a great chocolate bar that is made in (or around) Vancouver (to minimize my carbon footprint). Here are my results…in order of preference:

1. smooch from zazubean, made right here in Vancouver! nakid is also good, but I prefer milk chocolate. anything above 70% is too dark for me.

2. Simply Dark from Denman Island Chocolate made on Denman Island, British Columbia.

3. Caramel crunch from camino, La Siembra Co-operative

4. Dark Quinoa from Alter Eco in San Francisco. They had to make the list! Not only is the chocolate delicious…the packaging is awesome and filled with information. Love it!