Archive for July, 2009

The News

Well, it’s official. We are making some big and exciting changes. And, in case you didn’t know it yet, we are also officially crazy!

The first big change is where and how we’ll be living. As most of you know, James has been laid off for much of the time since last November. God has been so faithful to take care of us, and has provided James with side jobs. We know that God will continue to take care of us, so our decision to move isn’t based out of fear. We are moving out of our favorite, cute little rental house in order to save money with the hope of buying our own land someday. We have been so blessed by this house. I found out I was pregnant a week after we moved in, we birthed our third wonderful baby here, and now she’s crawling around and getting into everything! Despite many situations that could cause stress, such as James leaving the state for work, having 3 kids under age 4, and being on a tight budget, we’ve had a really good time living here. Eighteen months makes this home the longest we’ve lived anywhere! We prayed for this home, God graciously blessed us with it, and now it’s time to move on. Early in our marriage God blessed us with the home we birthed Aslan in. We were not thankful enough for it, and we left prematurely. Our God is a gracious God who provided this home for us to ‘start over’ in. I am sad to leave, but I’m at peace with the decision, and we have not taken this home for granted.

Our goal is to be able to buy our own land and build a home on it someday. (Hopefully it’ll be a straw-bale home!) We’ve learned that we’re not going to be able to do this unless we make some major changes and sacrifices. We made the leap by notifying our landlord of our intent to leave by the end of this month. We bought a 20 ft trailor and a canvas wall-tent. It feels so good to own our own home outright! After such a long time of trying not to spend money on anything at all, these purchases have been super exciting! Not to mention the adventure that we’re going to have living in them!

The plan for now is to move on to James parents’ land. We’ve got to be out of here by the first of August. We’ll have to have most of our stuff in storage and get our trailor and tent moved. Later, we hope to move a bit farther from civilization by renting property from friends. I’m glad to be moving in next to family with a modern house with all the finest ammenities first. I think it’ll make the transition easier for us, because we know we’re welcome in a house if we need anything. I’m sure the summertime will be a ton of fun, the fall and winter will get interesting…

James has been working on the trailer. It has a second roof which distinguishes it from other trailers. It’s already been remodled once, which opened lots of space. He’s making a bunk for the boys by expanding the storage space that the boys are pictured in. He’s already gutted the area where the bed used to be so we can fit our bed and Liesel’s playpen. Since the most important furniture to the kids and me is open floor, we won’t have a table or chairs in the trailer, and we’ll also have our tent as a living space with a sitting space, shelf, little table, and floor.

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While James has been busy with that and other odds and ends that need our attention before the move, I’ve been organizing and packing, packing and organizing! I need to pack the storage unit in such a way to keep the things that I know we won’t need toward the back, and the things we might need in the middle, and the things we will need (like winter clothes and bigger kid sizes) in the front, not to mention making sure it is all well labeled! Whenever I do a project like this it gets messier, and messier, and messier before it starts getting cleaner!

I love our canvas tent. It’s huge! It’s green! When the sun is shining, it reminds me of the green room that I gave birth to Shiloh in. I think that pictures will turn out well in the tent, when the sun is shining at least. (Shiloh’s birth pictures turned out beautifully!) Here is the tent and some attempts to get all 5 of us in one picture.

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The Normal

The move has been taking up most of our time and attention, but there have been a few other notable events. I didn’t have my camera for any of our Independence Day festivities which bummed me out! This was the first time the boys really saw fireworks. We went to Big Lake where James’ parents have a terrific view of the yearly show done right on the lake. I did bring my camera with me the other day when we had dinner there, though. I’m glad because the kids had an especially fun time and there were great picture opportunities.

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Part of the “Get Creative” summer reading program was a dance class that I took the boys to. They were super shy at first, almost crying when I took off their shoes. After they saw some other kids having fun, I was able to coax them onto the dance floor, but only by being the only adult running and hopping around on the dance floor beside the teacher and the librarian. Liesel bounced around on my back. Once the boys finally let go of my hands and started dancing, they had a blast. Now whenever we drive down the street where we were, Aslan asks about dance class. They’ve also been dancing and stopping with music. They play with the dial on the radio and start dancing to any genre of music.

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Milo, our cat, brought a special treat for us and dropped it in the kitchen. It was a mole. I’d never seen a mole before. It was smaller than I expected.  James caught it and set it free in the back yard. I should have gone outside to watch. James said the mole never even hit the ground. It just started digging midair and was gone in a second. Crazy!

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As closets get cleaned out, the boys have been playing in nooks and crannies of the house that they’ve never been in before. These pictures were taken during a rolicking game of hide-and-seek. Isn’t it amazing how kids can hide in the same place ten times in a row and still laugh just as hard as the first time when you ‘finally’ find them?

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Just the other day, James packed up the little CD shelf that he built for me. It was inspired by the shelf above Logan in the Gilmore Girls intro song. In the middle I had put a little wooden heart the James made for me a long, long time ago. They’ve been on the wall…pretty much since we moved in. When James took everything down, there was a nice little oily surprise left on the wall. Hope it comes out with soap!

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And last but not least, our little baby girl has now spent more time out of my womb than in. She is nine months old! Our latest teether so far, she finally cut her bottom front teeth about a week before she was nine months. I love the stage of development she’s at. Her personality is just blooming! She’s super active and she knows she can make people smile and laugh. Over the last week or so, when she nurses, she suddenly stares up at me, pulls away, gives me a huge smile, coos, and strokes my face. I know it means “I love you! Thank you!” So many beautiful moments to treasure in my heart! I suppose that this picture will be the last in the series of ‘Natalie pictures’ since I we’ll probably be packing the rug and Natalie away. I’m thinking that I’ll start taking pictures with the toy that’s become Liesel’s ‘lovey’ which I’ll introduce next time!

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Well, I’ve got to go clean, pack, and organize some more. Plus spend some time with the kiddos. I’ve already spent way too long at the computer. Next time I write, it should be from a trailer or a tent! Exciting!

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I’m going to start by saying that I’m not sure who reads my blogs, but this blog has to do with male infant circumcision, and it may not interest all of you. I’m going to be blunt, so if you don’t want to read all about what to do with infant penises, you needn’t read on. You won’t be missing any updates on family, I just need a place to rant about this because part of my job as a childbirth educator is to educate on this topic, and over the last few days I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about it. 

How should Christians think about this?

When I was first confronted with this topic, instead of starting with the scienctific evidence for or against circumcision, I started by looking to God and His Word. To me, this carries more weight than the studies that may or may not be disproven in a few years.

We all know that God made a covenant with Abraham and it was shown with the sign of circumcision. Throughout the Old Testament, the Israelite males were circumcised as a sign of this covenant. Babies were circumcised on the 8th day. Jews still practice this today. In the New Testament it was made abundantly clear that there was no longer any requirment to circumcise for Christians. Galatians 5:6 says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Christians therefore have no religious obligation to circumcise. Ultimately, this leaves the choice wide open.

My questions regarding circumcision then, had to do with what is healthiest. I know that God often commanded certain things for a myriad of reasons. Even though circumcision was primarily symbolic, it could have had other benefits as well. I can’t read God’s mind and it isn’t stated in Scripture, but I’ve postulated that one of the reasons could have been hygenic. Hygene seems to be a big topic now when circumcision is debated, so it’s reasonable. When Israel was wandering in the desert for forty years, they didn’t have bathtubs and running water the way we do today. Maybe being circumcised had a health benefit, in addition to all of the symbolism it provided. Following that logic, I thought that either clean running water negated that need, or that circumcision could still have hygenic benifits today. I wondered about this until James came across information regarding how the Israelites were circumcised during Bible times. How had never crossed my mind before. This is where it gets interesting… Let me walk you through this.

First, if you think you can stomach it, watch this vidoe of an infant being circumcised. Pay attention to the sterile environment, experienced hands, and all of the special surgical tools that are used http://www.givingbirthnaturally.com/circumcision-video.html   Or read and look at pictures here: http://www.circumcisionquotes.com/description.html Now, think about Abraham and all of his descendents. Did they have that environment and all the equipment? How on earth were they supposed to acheive a circumcision like we are accustumed to today? Wouldn’t you assume that the orginial circumcision of Abraham and his descendents was much…simpler? Well, it turns out that the circumcision of Abraham, and even that of Jesus was completely different! Here is an excerpt from an article describing the type of circumcision given throughout the Bible:

The original Biblical circumcision of Abraham’s time was a relatively minor ritual circumcision procedure in which only the redundant end of the foreskin extending beyond the tip of the glans was removed. This was called “Milah”. Following “Milah”…, especially when flaccid, and the glans would appear as uncircumcised. There would be minimal loss of sensitivity or intended protection.

The article goes on to describe a more invasive circumcision that started around 140 AD:

After performing “milah”, the cutting back of the end of the infant’s foreskin, a second step, periah was then performed. 

The article gets very discriptive here. Basically it explains the procedure that removes all of the foreskin instead of just the tip, like it is done in circumcisions today. Why the change? The article reads:

This is a much more radical form of circumcision. It was dictated by man, and is not the biblical commanded circumcision rite. Its introduction has a bizarre history. The rabbinate sought to put an end to the practice of youths desiring to appear uncircumcised by stretching the remaining foreskin for social economic benefits and for sports competitions. By introducing the painful and debilitating “Periah” they would obliterate the foreskin completely such that proper circumcised Jew could not disguise “the seal of the covenant”. 

So man, not God, introduced the current way of circumcision! It was a form of legalism to make sure that Jews couldn’t pass as Gentiles! Just in case he would try to cover up the fact that he was a Jew when he was older, baby boys were being scarred in a painful and unhealthy way at 8 days old! This is what convinced me not to support circumcision as it is performed today.

I highly encourage you to read the whole article here: http://www.cirp.org/library/history/peron2/ In all of my searching, I found this article foundational to how I view circumcision as a Christian. By looking up the words ‘Milah’ and ‘Periah’ on a search engine, you can find out more about the history of circumcision. (Just a note to the ladies, I was very careful in my searches, I always included the word ‘infant’ and the computer was set on ‘moderate to safe’ searches. I had no problem staying away from pictures I didn’t want to see. While I was out of the room, James just got on the computer to look up something about the difference between ‘milah’ and ‘periah’ and within seconds he had pictures up and told me to stay out. So be careful!)

This new information about Biblical circumcision shocked me! I imagine that it would shock other Christians, too, if they only knew about it. A type of radical circumcision performed by a doctor is what American Christians are used to! When told that it’s more hygenic to be circumcised, Christians parents may assume, like I did, that God had His reasons for wanting Abraham to be circumcised and therefore they have their son circumcised. Nobody realizes that the word ‘circumcision’ as it is used in the Bible represented a completely different procedure!

Since I am talking through this in the same order that I thought and learned about it, I began by musing about Abraham and his circumcision, but James brought it to my attention that that is the wrong place to start. We should start by looking at Adam in the Garden of Eden. When God created everything, He made it good. And, after sin entered the world, whenever God asked His people to make a sacrifice, He required the first-fruits of something meaningful, perfect, and good. As a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham, God wasn’t asking Abraham for an extra flap of skin, but something important that God Himself had created. Now, it is Jesus’ blood that seals the New Covenant. Circumcision is no longer a part of how God asks us to respond to Him, or a way to set God’s people apart. We rely on Jesus’ saving grace alone, and the fruits of the Spirit set us apart from the world. While Chrisitans are not forbidden from circumcision, it would be wrong to assume that it is necessary for physical purposes, as God’s men from Adam to Abraham show us, or spiritual purposes, as is made abundently clear in the New Testament. 

Pros, Cons, Questions etc.

Now, I jumped past all of the pros and cons of circumcision that are aired and heatedly debated today. When you read the articles at the bottom of this blog, you’ll get an idea about what is being said about circumcision now a days. Here is what struck me: the amazing part about the original ‘milah’ circumcision is that it seems that it would incorporate most of the ‘claimed’ pros of being circumcised and the ‘claimed’ pros of being intact, while eliminating the ‘claimed’ cons of being circumcised and the ‘claimed’ cons of being intact! (I write ‘claimed’ because some of these are in direct contradiction to each other, studies that say one thing are later criticised,  and you can find anything to support your view on the internet.)

We chose leave our boys intact. We saw no reason to circumcise, many reasons not to, and have had no problem with it so far. Hygene has been easy and natural. We didn’t feel right making that decision for our sons. If they want to be circumcised one day they can be, but it doesn’t work the other way around. If we ever did chose to circumcise because something was medically wrong, we would chose to have it done the ‘milah’ way. We have a few friends who take their babies to a Jewish Rabbi. Though he circumcises the ‘periah’ way, it is much more humane than the hospital routine. We would go to him and ask for only the ‘milah’ part of the circumcision. For a newborn, we would also wait until the baby is 8 days old and nursing and gaining weight well. 

Here are a few of my thoughts and questions about circumcision. It has largely become a cultural thing. Should it be? We’re talking about a surgical procedure here! If it’s done for the sake of the culture, that means it’s done for appearance alone. 

That video link from earlier was of a baby being circumcised without any form of pain relief. As a mother, I can’t stand the thought of that. Now the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that pain relief be used (this seems new since James doesn’t remember seeing that when he looked into the topic 5 years ago.) I wonder how safe those pain relief methods ultimately are for a newborn baby. I’m not sure how it exactly a Jewish Rabbi does it, but I think the baby is given some form of natural pain relief.

Another thought: one of the ‘pros’ of being circumcised is supposed to be a lesser chance of the man becoming infected with a sexually transmitted disease. I don’t think it’s a pro. STD’s have to do with lifestyle choices. If one man and one woman are being faithful, they aren’t going to be introducing new diseases to each other, and if the wife has an STD, she’s likely to give it to her husband whether or not he is circumcised. I don’t think wisdom calls us to prepare a baby for safer promiscuity. I’d like to raise my sons, by God’s grace, to honor marriage, and then let them make the decisions they are going make about circumcision and sex when they’re old enough to do so. 

I also wonder why it isn’t as safe for an older child or a man to be circumcised since Abraham and many men throughout Israel’s history were grown when they were circumcised. James asked the question, could it just be becasue doctors today aren’t experienced at it? I’m not sure. I also don’t have enough faith in modern medicine to completely trust everything they say. Some things they say are true. Other things are made to seem so. Others have so many factors that it’s impossible to seperate them all. And many other statements about safety or necessity that were made in the past have now been recended because new information proved the statements untrue. Someday, the statements being made now will be considered out-of-date and disproven. People, especially parents, are responsible for navigating through a lot of information and trying to make the best decisions they can. 

Here are the articles about circumcision. Some parts of them I agree with, some parts of them I disagree with. Some points contradict each other. Some of them are from reputable sources or written by people with degrees. Others are not. None of them have pictures of men.  Now it’s time for you to draw your own conclusions.

Dr Sears:



I reallly respect what Dr. Sears (a man and his two sons all go by this name now) has to say about a lot of things. He doesn’t ever present a ‘one size fits all’ to families. He respects their differences and preferences and isn’t afraid to disagree with other more mainstream doctors.

American Academy of Pediatrics statement: 


Articles about Circumcision





(Lots of links and resources on the last one, I have not been to all of the pages linked to that page.)

Circumcision and Breastfeeding


Care, whether intact or circumcised







I hope I still have at least a few of you reading to the end. This is a lot of stuff to think about, I know. Thanks for reading. I strongly believe that expecting parents, especially fathers, should give this topic some serious consideration and ask hard questions. Look up articles and get information yourself too! (Remember to be careful online ladies.) I hope you at least found the difference between circumcisions of Bible times and circumcisions given today interesting, as that is what really prompted my interest in the topic, and the writing of this blog.

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