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It Takes All Sorts

Like children not content with observing a newly installed, freshly painted, previously unslidden slide from afar, but who insist on running up full of expectation of experiencing something new with the whole living self, so, too, we realize it takes all sorts to make a world.

To realize it takes all sorts to make a world, one must have seen a certain number of the sorts with one’s own eyes. There is all the difference in the world between believing academically, with the intellect, and believing personally, with the whole living self.

—Aldous HuxleyJesting Pilate

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A Two Turkey Thanksgiving

We once heard a pastor and father of three say, “When you have two kids you realise that having one kid is having no kids.” Does that apply to multiples too? Because having four kids makes me realise that having two kids was easy-peasy. What did I do with my time when I only had two little people to look after? I must have been leading the life of leisure!

Who am I kidding, my last year has been a whirlwind. In fact, my last three years have been a whirlwind. But take all the busyness away and what’s left is two huge personalities in tiny little bodies. They fill our hearts with overwhelming joy and pride. George and Florence complete our family and today we celebrate their first miraculous year of life.

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Let’s rewind—I know you must be intrigued to hear me speak of their entrance into the world and the heartache of not getting to hold them until days after the birth.

As expected their birth was my hardest of the three I’ve experienced. I was induced and the meds worked better and faster than anyone expected. I was given different meds to ease things off and with great management between midwife and doctors the twins were ready to arrive at 5am on this day a year ago. George, my little wiggler, came out first. The doctor then turns to me and says, “Now you have thirty minutes to push the next one out or we’ll have to go for a C-section.” It’s actually surprising how long it takes to wait for contractions and push a baby out! It took me twenty more minutes. But she, yes SHE arrived right on time.

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I’m not good with surprises I’ll tell you that now. I like to find out the gender of my babies at seventeen weeks and I like to plan. I like to get identical, matching clothes and buy all things blue and I like to pick out names and imagine my future with one girl and three boys. I like to imagine Poppy as a big sister to three mischievous but smart little boys. I spent roughly five months in that state of mind. Thought and effort went in to announcing details to family and friends. My mother-in-law still displays her blue origami bouquet of flowers that I made to announce the expected arrival of two more grandsons. So with all that said, you can imagine my bewilderment when in my postpartum exhaustion (which can only be described as a loopy state of mind and body), I get told my third son is actually a girl. Edward is actually Florence.

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O the sheer joy. A real-life angel. Poppy’s real life gift from God. The perfect little sister she always wanted. And she is every bit all of those things. Florence is my girl. If Poppy is my wild beauty, then Florence is my girl. She clings to me like baby monkey clings to mamma monkey. She is timid and I can feel her physically tremble in my arms when she fears something. But she is such a happy and smiley baby. She loves to laugh and make others laugh too. She is my girl.

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For the best part of nine months I felt George kicking constantly. He was always moving (as opposed to Flossie who would only kick around 9pm every night). Well it’s stayed the same way to this day. George is my charmer. He has this twinkle in his eye that brings all the girls to the yard. And those curls, they define his personality even more. We now sometimes call him Curly and it just fits.

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What I love the most about George and Florence is that although they have very distinctive personalities they gel in a cute friendship kind of way. They make each other laugh and I know for sure that George’s presence brings a lot of comfort to Florence. She likes being in his bubble and he doesn’t mind it.

I will end with this. It wasn’t until three days after their birth that I got to hold them for the first time together. There are no words to describe the feeling of holding two teeny tiny babies in your arms and knowing they are yours to keep. Two babies. Two little bodies, your own flesh and blood. So tiny.

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Admittedly, twins are hard. So hard that I feel like I’ve earnt the right to call myself superwoman. But having twins gave me a feeling of being chosen. Me? Why me? Some other twin parent friends described their own feelings similar to how they could imagine feeling winning the lottery. How can we be the lucky ones? It may be hard but I’m so glad we are.

Happy birthday, little babies!

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At A Loss

Friday brought to a much-needed close the first half of what is now our third two week workshop on Luke’s gospel. In these workshops my colleagues and I, a translation consultant in training, gather together with the three translation teams that we’ve been working with for several years now and offer mentoring and training of the maturing translators as well as offer feedback on their evolving translations. Back in 2013 we started training these mostly beginner translators from three different languages, a group of about ten men and women all together. We’ve guided them through the process of drafting, testing, revising, checking, and publishing the Old Testament books of Ruth and Jonah. Since March of this year we have been steadily working our way through the gospel of Luke and are now nearing the halfway mark. The work rolls on.

This past Friday, however, was not kind to us. In the morning one of the translators received word from his wife that she had taken their sick son to the closest medical clinic for treatment for malaria only to find that he had already succumbed to his illness. The translator, who had traveled several hundred miles away from home, leaving his family behind in order to attend this workshop, was now faced with the grueling task of a two day’s journey home to the village without any prospect of his young son being there to welcome him back. I can’t imagine.

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In every newsletter we remind you our faithful readers of the importance of praying for the translators we work with.  They give so much of their time and energy and personal means to trade it in for the first drafts of a new verse of holy scripture in their mother tongue. While they’re working, translating, life does not go on hold. Illness does not relent. Daily demands do not ease. Fields do not prepare and plant themselves. Life goes on and often takes away.

We mourn with our brother who is only today back at home with his family grieving the loss of their beloved boy. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.