Category Archives: Thought-Provoking

An Update on Meriam

My last post was about a Meriam Ibrahim, Christian Sudanese woman, who has been sentenced to death for not renouncing her faith and converting to Islam.  She was pregnant and imprisoned with her 20-month-old son Martin.  It was reported that Meriam gave birth to a baby girl early yesterday morning.  She has also been sentenced to receive a brutal beating of 100 lashes for “adultery” because she married a non-Muslim.  This was supposed to happen as soon as her baby was delivered.  I don’t know whether this horrible sentence has been carried out yet or not, but please pray keep praying for this family.  Pray especially for this new baby’s health, her mother’s recovery, and  that asylum will be granted to Meriam and her two children (both American citizens) by the United States.

From Fox News: Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy gives birth in prison

From Daily Mail: EXCLUSIVE – Wife set to hang for marrying Christian U.S. citizen gives birth to baby girl in squalid jail.

From Breitbart: Death sentenced Sudanese Christian convert ‘gives birth in jail’

If you can, please speak out against what is happening to Meriam at the BeHeard Project.  Share her story on social media…Facebook…on Twitter…however you can to anybody you can.

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Meriam

This post is a bit of a departure from my usual here at Filed Under Potpourri.  I want to address freedom.  As an American, freedom is one of those buzzwords that we use that has thrown around so much that I think its meaning has become somewhat altered.  It is certainly something that is taken for granted.  But, freedom of what?  Freedom for what?  The First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution reads that

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Freedom of religion of one’s choosing.  Freedom to practice said religion.  Freedom of conscience.  These rights, which are taken for granted here in the United States, are not present anywhere abroad to the extent that they are here at home.

Perhaps nobody is more aware of the lack of these freedoms at the moment than Meriam Ibrahim.  You may have heard of her.  She’s the 27-year-old woman in Sudan who was sentenced to death by hanging on 15 May 2014 for the crime of being a Christian.  She refused to recant and convert to Islam.  She has also been sentenced to a brutal flogging for the crime of “adultery,” which she has not committed in the dictionary sense.  Because she married a Christian man, her marriage has been declared null and void.  Since she has had relations with her husband, a non-Muslim, she is to receive 100 lashes after she delivers her baby.

Did I mention that she is 8 months pregnant?  Or that her 20-month-old son is in prison with his mother?  Or that her husband is not allowed to get custody of his children?  Or that her husband and said children are American citizens?

The levels of wrong here are so many and run so deep.

As a mother with a couple of very small boys, my heart is breaking for the tiny boy in prison with his mother.  He can’t possibly understand what’s going on, or why his momma is being hurt, or why he can’t be with his daddy.  An older child would barely be able to understand it, but he’s just a baby still.  There is apparently good reason to worry that he will be executed as well.

As a pregnant woman, I cannot even begin to fathom the pain and mental anguish she is experiencing.  Not only is she being denied medical treatment, she is shackled and has been beaten and tortured in prison.  She knows that as soon as she delivers her baby, which is supposed to be a joyous occasion, she is going to face a horrific beating.  She knows that as soon as her baby is weaned, she is going to die.

As an American, I feel nothing but rage that her husband has been unable to get a spousal visa for his wife and that as of yet, no real action is being taken by the State Department on either Meriam’s or their two children’s behalf.

As a Christian, I can’t feel anything but horror at the choice facing her.  What would I do in her place?  I hope that I would be as courageous as she was and refuse to disavow my beliefs in order to save my own life.  But, then I look at my precious family and my heart sinks.  I am reminded of the Apostle Peter who denied Jesus three times in order to save himself.  How could I face God if I did recant?  How would I be able to say goodbye to my husband and babies if I didn’t?

In Matthew 16:24-26 (NIV), Jesus told His disciples that

“’Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?'” 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that that

“The cross is not random suffering, but necessary suffering. The cross is not suffering that stems from natural existence; it is the suffering that comes from being Christian.”

Meriam Ibraham gets it.

No matter what your personal beliefs are, I hope that you will read up on Meriam Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani, their son Martin, and their unborn baby.  There are some links below…they are by no means exhaustive, but I hope that they provide you with a good start.

From Reuters: Sudanese woman may face death for choosing Christianity over Islam

From Morning Star News: Pregnant Woman in Sudan Could Be Executed for ‘Apostasy,’ Whipped for ‘Adultery’

From Townhall: The Real War on Women?

Also from Townhall: Pregnant Sudan Christian Mother Sentenced to Hang to Death

From Breitbart: Sudanese Judge to Pregnant Woman: ‘I sentence you to hang’ for becoming a Christian

Also from Breitbart: Pregnant Christian to be executed for leaving Islam after giving birth-State Department stands idly by

From Fox News: Sudanese Christian shackled while awaiting death sentence, husband says

Please pray for this family, who is experiencing a nightmare unlike any that we as Americans are likely to face at this point in our history.  If you can, please speak out against what is happening to Meriam at the BeHeard Project.  Share her story on social media…Facebook…on Twitter…however you can to whoever you can.  Please pray that the State Department will intervene.  Above all, pray for Meriam to stay strong and to know God’s peace.

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Goodbye, 2012

What an interesting year it has been.

2012 seemed like it would be fairly “normal.”  You know…work, school, work, diapers, work, laundry, work…I saw all of those on the horizon for this past year.  What I didn’t see coming was the switch from being a working mom to a homeschool mom…or the possibility of loving said switch.  I didn’t see the collapse of a soggy dining room ceiling, a tornado stealing our shed and then dropping it on the neighbor’s car, or the dog eating the living room carpet to soothe an upset tummy coming, either.  Apparently, Professor Trelawney I am not.  (Wait…)

Continuing to highlight some of the more memorable moments of this past year:

  1. I started this blog…and then put it on hold around Oldest and I started summer break so I could attempt to write The Great American Novel of 2012.  Instead, I conducted The Great Purge of His Bedroom while he was off visiting relatives in various places. Maybe in 2013…
  2. We got our annual mandatory academic progress test results back…Dude passed with flying colors.  All paperwork was filed and curriculum purchased so we could continue to homeschool during the 2012-2013 school year as well.  In case you were wondering, fourth grade rocks!  I’ve gotten to teach basic electronic theory during science this term.  *flexes techie muscles*    We have had a few awesome field trips and done some pretty fantastic projects that will (hopefully) be covered in more detail during later posts.
  3. Baby has twelve teeth, a fifteen-ish word vocabulary, and can walk like a champ.  We discovered on Halloween that he was apparently born knowing how to use a light saber.  (He made the cutest Yoda I’ve ever seen…I’m telling you.)  He absolutely loves books, cars (said with a Bostonian accent), trucks, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,  and our dog-dogs.
  4. He is also going to be a big brother in about three-ish months!  We found out that New Baby was on the way on my birthday, which was about the best present ever.  (I’d been wondering what all the nosebleeds were about…apparently, that’s how my body reacts to being pregnant.  Fabulous.)  Yet to be discovered is whether or not gestational diabetes and bed rest are on my horizon this time around.
  5. Thankfully, the whole second trimester energy spike thing happened right around the holiday season, so I was able to make and bake a whole lot of stuff that will also (hopefully) be covered in more detail during later posts.
  6. Item 5 was brought to you and all actual beneficiaries in part by the discovery of Pinterest.
  7. The disasters mentioned in Paragraph 2, plus a few others.  It’s okay.  We survived.
  8. Hubby presented me with a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas, and it has changed my culinary life this past week.  I still can’t decide whether to call it The Beast or Bonnie.  It’s a toss-up.  I’ll keep you posted.  So far, we’ve made four batches of cookies (gingerbread men, spritz, vanilla-mint candy canes, and cinnamon roll sugar cookies), icing, my grandma’s legendary Anadama bread, and mashed potatoes.  As a side note, this year was my second making Christmas dinner all by myself, and I didn’t set anything on fire!  All of that Food Network viewing is so paying off!  My in-laws further expanded my culinary horizon with their gift of the ice cream maker attachment.  Holy frostbite.  That thing is awesome!  I made honey-vanilla ice cream the day after Christmas and grape sherbet (chalk it up to weird pregnancy cravings) this weekend.  There is but one thing to say about how they turned out.  Dude.  Okay, moving on.
  9. I can now say that I’ve given hermit crabs a bath.  Considering how much they resemble spiders and my arachnophobia, this is quite a feat.
  10. Much amazing time with family and friends, including a two-week visit with my baby brother this summer, surprise visit from my Bestie while we were Up North for Thanksgiving with my grandmothers, parents, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins (oh, my!) and another surprise visit from my sister and her husband the weekend before Christmas.  Hopefully, this new year will contain much more of this line item.  Also, please note that the board game called Frazzle! is pretty awesome and adds a lot to family gatherings.  It comes with a gavel.  ‘Nuff said.

I could go on and on, but I shall restrain myself.  Suffice it to say that I have learned so much this past year, and while moments of it were more painful than others, God has been incredibly good to me and my family and I am so grateful to Him for everyone and everything He brought our way.  Looking back on this year, this verse keeps coming to mind.

When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
anything about their future.

Ecclesiastes 7:14, New International version

No amount of crystal ball gazing or reading the tea leaves would have prepared me for the roller coaster of this past year.  (What say you, Professor?  Besides that I’m in grave danger.  I live with gravity every day.  You don’t have to tell me that.)  This year, more profoundly than other years, has shown me exactly how much I have learned (and have yet to learn) about trusting that God can handle things much better than I ever could.  One just has to sit back and enjoy the ride…even if it comes standard with wet drywall and doggie indigestion.

Happy New Year!

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Reliving “Titanic”

Today is the day before the eve of the centennial anniversary of the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic.

Since I was introduced to the James Cameron version of the Titanic story by my sister, I’ll admit that I’ve had moments of sporting a flippant ‘tude towards the way the movie ended.  I just couldn’t get past the whole Rose-doesn’t-share-the-door-with-Jack thing…plus the moment in time in which she solemnly tells him that she’ll “never let go, Jack” just before consigning him to the briny deep.  Really?  Woman, if you had split up the time spent in the water, he might have survived and you both could have lived happily ever after.  The real tragedy of the Titanic was obscured by my frustration at the fake one.  At some point, however, that all vanished and it took today for me to realize why.

My boys and I spent the day at a museum near us that hosted a Titanic Day event for homeschoolers.  When we checked in, my oldest was handed a passport and a ticket.  The second-class ticket was labeled with a name: Reverend Thomas R. D. Byles.  We were informed that in the Titanic display, there was a roster to check to see whether he survived or not.  My oldest got to participate in a scavenger hunt where he had to ask key characters for information about their experiences onboard the ship…why they were traveling, who they were with and did they survive.  He got to see a working model of the Titanic’s engines and to talk with a fireman about his job shoveling coal for the boilers.  He made a few toys not unlike the ones that the children might have played with as they sailed across the Atlantic on the Titanic.  We got to listen to period music, and he learned how to play a horse race dice game (hello, Vegas?) as well as shuffleboard and skittles.  We heard the Unsinkable Molly Brown (who by the way hated the name Molly and went by Maggie until they decided to turn her story into a Broadway musical) give a presentation on what the Titanic itself would have been like, introducing some of the more well-known passengers, and then describing the iceberg and its aftermath.  This evening, to wrap up the whole experience, we watched a childproofed version of the James Cameron “Titanic” (sans the portrait and “wrestling” scenes).  It was at the moment where a young immigrant woman clutching her tiny baby desperately asked the captain where she should go that I had an epiphany.

It is impossible to be flippant about the Titanic when one is married and a parent.  I can’t imagine the agony of saying goodbye to my husband, knowing that I will probably never see him again.  I can’t imagine the panic of trying to get my boys to a lifeboat, or the unspeakable horror of knowing that I failed.

Actually, I can imagine…all too clearly.  The various scenarios have been playing on repeat in my head all day.  The goal for the field trip was to get past the romanticized Hollywood and Broadway fuzz and the endless forensic analysis and conjecture of books and to really relive the maiden voyage of the Titanic.  Mission accomplished.

In case you were wondering, our assigned passenger was supposed to be performing his brother’s wedding ceremony after he got to New York.  He wasn’t able to be there.  By all accounts, Reverend Byles refused at least one offer of a lifeboat space so that he could continue to give comfort and to administer last rites to the terrified passengers that were not able to escape the sinking ship.

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