June 23, 2009

Two weeks old

Here are a few more pics of Brave. He will be two weeks old tomorrow. He is gaining weight and doing great. He only cries when he is hungry, and he is a good sport about the smothering kisses his big brothers give him. We are a happy family of five.

June 22, 2009

And... they got big.

It seems as if over night, our whole family dynamic has changed. Brave's arrival has pushed both Bright and Zion into boyhood. I'm sure it's partly because having an infant makes me more aware of how big they are, but it also seems as if they now feel a certain level of seniority.

Zion found his shadow. And now he insists on standing with Bright and I to pee pee before I give them a bath at night. Even though nothing happens, when he is “finished,” he shakes things around and walks off confident and satisfied.

Bright has begun climbing everything. Literally, just the other day I looked over and he had made it to the ceiling in our little bungalo. Then he shared with me this little revelation, "Dad, if I was you I'd just keep on washing your buns and never stop." I can't argue with that.

June 16, 2009

Brave Ransom Rupp

Daniel and I are now the proud parents of three little sons! Brave Ransom Rupp was born at 6:15 a.m. on June 13 in the Chiang Mai Ram Hospital in Chiang Mai Thailand. He weighed 2.965 kilograms and measured 52 cm. (That is about 6 1/2 lbs and 20 1/2 inches, for you Americans).

My water broke just after midnight, and I started to cry. I was terrified of what lay ahead. I had such a fast and painful labor with Zion, like a plane spinning wildly to earth, and I was dreading that experience again. I immediately facebooked my intercessor friends for help.

To avoid another breakneck dash to the hospital, we casually went in at about 1:30 a.m., checking in with smiles on our faces, Daniel walking around taking pictures. My contractions were little more than cramps.

At about 2:30 a.m., I woke Daniel from his cot because labor had begun. It was game time. He pushed on my lower back during each contraction, and things were going pretty well.

Suddenly, at about 4 a.m., the contractions jerked into high-gear, and I was in the same wild pain that I had been in with Zion. Daniel went and got a nurse and she checked the progress. 4 c.m. My nightmare was repeating itself. Desperately I announced I wanted an epidural. Though I was only at 4 c.m., the nurses decided to transfer me to the other room, figuring I would be at 5 c.m. by the time they were ready for the procedure (5 c.m. is required before an epidural can be administered).

The whole thing went south when they failed to check the progress again before sticking me with the big needle. They didn't know I was at a 10. I was lying on my side, three nurses and my husband pinning me down with my knees together, a giant needle just beside my spine, and suddenly I needed to push. The problem was, I couldn't move or I could have been paralyzed. Interesting predicament. I screamed bloody murder and pushed (because I had to, of course) and my restrainers held me tight and we waited for the needle to be secured in my back. Finally, I was released and I rolled over. I was still screaming and I pushed twice and they placed my slimy, wrinkly, purple son on my tummy. I was so glad that it was over. He was so beautiful to me. I was overwhelmed and I started to cry from pure joy. They cut the cord and wrapped him up and handed him back to me, and I couldn't stop stroking him and whispering praises from my heart.

About that time the epidural set in, so you'll be happy to know that I had a pain-free delivery of the placenta.

Obviously, delivering children is not my gifting. Neither is carrying them in my womb, for that matter, since I spend the first 21 weeks of the process on the couch. But being their mom is something I feel that I was made to do. The pain and fear and disruption of my life are nothing compared to one day - just one day - with just one of my sons.

Welcome to the world, Brave Ransom. You look half like Bright and half like Zion. May your name pave the way for you to live bravely in this world, a world that so desperately needs to be ransomed from the chains that bind it. You have been born into a family that adores you. You will have fun with us, you will find boundaries and discipline, you will eat desert, you will learn to hunt if you want, and cook if you care to join me in the kitchen. You will be allowed to wear your hair however you want as a teenager, and your mom and dad will stand behind you all the days of your life. May you grow into a man who loves your Savior with all you've got. We love you, Brave.

June 08, 2009

Chop down the tree

This morning after breakfast we received a surprise:

Right before our eyes, and just feet from our small bungalow, appeared a large red crane and a whole troop of lumberjacks. We were instantly elated. Well, I speak for myself and the boys - Kayla was mildly amused. Within moments they had set up shop, thankfully we had the best view in the whole of the city.

Effortlessly, men would climb barefoot high in the trees and attach the steel cable to a large limb. Then, they would cut the bottom of the limb until the crane could pull it up in the air so that it wouldn't crush our house or another. The one you see here is being pulled right over our house.

The whole thing was supervised by a very focused South African named Ebbe. I took a break from watching from the window to go get something from the office and he stopped me, "You are in your house? All of you? Now you must leave." So we did. He is a simple man who refuses to accept either retirement or computers. Though I'm not sure how official his role was, the men generally accepted his leadership and so did I.

As the saws were buzzing and the saw dust was flying I kept thinking of the Jason Upton song, "Chop down the tree." It might sound a little odd to some, but I love the song. Most of the lyrics are taken straight from Daniel 4, which recounts Nebuchadnezzar's dream and Belteshazzar's (Daniel) interpretation of it. It's a beautiful dream. Nebuchadnezzar has become so great that he is like a tree that fills the whole earth. But, because of his pride the One issues a decree, "Chop down the tree."

However, he would not be fully cut off. Iron was to be bound around his stump and for seven years he became as a beast of the field - meaning that like the lilies of the field, he too was TOTALLY dependent on the One. It was like Dad was giving him his masters in dependency. On graduation day, he was restored to the throne a different man. Now, with his unique training, he could rightly rule his throne and simultaneously rightly orient himself around THE throne. The trimming back of Nebuchadnezzar was catastrophic - he was the most powerful king in the world. Yet, it was also a most precious move of grace. Instead of destruction and justice, he received a greater ability to relate and worship - is there any better gift?

Though I looked quite normal when I got off the plane last year, I had indeed become very large, at least in my own mind. I did not know weakness, rather I abounded with ability. I did not know brokenness, instead I was full of strength. Then the chopping began. It's really been all terrible and wonderful at the same time. I was describing it to my friend John the other day. I don't think I've ever felt so broken and so at peace all at the same time. Dependence, it is a wonderful gift that I'm certainly receiving at personally unprecedented levels. Wheeew, I sure am glad I didn't get destruction or justice. In this season of time, that's not how He works. So go on Ebbe. Do your thing. Don't leave a branch intact!

June 01, 2009

7 years together

The day before our anniversary we pulled up youtube and listened to a great Diamond Rio song, Meet in the Middle. One of the verses starts with "It's been seven years tomorrow since we said our vows..." In the video, Mr. Rio has a mullet that almost doesn't fit in his jeep - but it is an awesome song.

The next night, we left our monitors with some friends here at the Juniper Tree so we could go out for dinner. We went to Duke's, where it just so happened to be Mexican Tuesday night special so we both got fajitas! They were stunning, to say the least. The Duke's is small, clean, lit with candles, and plays some really good music. It may be our favorite restaurant here, other than the Jerusalem Falafel place.

After that we hopped in a TukTuk and went to Central mall, not to be confused with the Central mall in Fort Smith, or the other Central mall in Chiang Mai. Yes, there are two very different and distinct malls here that are both named Central mall.

The mall has an awesome export store that sells factory seconds for stores like Gap and Old Navy. We both got some shirts and I bought some well needed pants. Kayla went to the cow-girl shop and got a really cool bracelet. Chiang Mai, to be so small, has got to be one of the most Western towns in all the East.

I can't believe it really has been seven years. When we were engaged we met an old man in Indianapolis who told us that marriage got better every day. I think he's right.