Friday, April 27, 2012

Celebrating spring and new beginnings

Warning: This post is very random and disjointed. Sometimes I'm not so good with the talking and putting the words together good thing (to quote Alex the Lion from Madagascar)

Spring is here in southern VA! At least, today it is. Three days ago I was busy keeping the fire going in the woodstove, freezing to death. Flowers and trees are blooming, birds are singing (both the ones outside and inside my house), people are sneezing and snotting from the allergies. Yep, it's spring! Tomorrow is the First Annual Springfest in Ridgeway VA. (should be said in a loud radio announcer voice to get the full effect). I live in a town that has one stop light, a library, a Dollar General, a local grocery store where they still carry your groceries out to your car, and it's also home to Ridgeway Drive-In, where you can get the best hot dogs around.
What more do we need? Well, we needed a community festival, a time to be proud of living in Ridgeway. We are home to NASCAR's Martinsville Speedway (I've yet to have anyone adequately explain why it's not the Ridgeway Speedway, as it has a Ridgeway address!). So me and a couple of my partners in crime have organized Springfest. One of them, Ethel (not her real name, she was dubbed Ethel when she and her daughter joined our GS troop for reasons that don't even make sense to anyone but us), is scheduled for a C-section on Tuesday. That's 4 days from now! She's already having contractions! We're supposed to go mark off the spots this afternoon for everyone's booths, and she's crazy enough to think she's still going. We're trying to bribe her with sesame chicken (and threatening with duct tape) to make her stay home in the bed. We want baby Harper (yes, we're allowing her to keep her real name, at least for now) to arrive safe and sound! I'm not birthing no babies in the middle of the hayfield this afternoon!

Ok, so back to Springfest! We will have crafts, food, music in the park, a flag retiring ceremony by the boy scouts, lots of bouncy stuff for the kids to play on. I want to tell you about one booth in particular. It's for CDH awareness. What is CDH? It's Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. There are about 1500 babies born with it every year, as many as are born with things like spina bifida and cystic fibrosis, but most people have never heard of it and there is very little research funding for it. About half of all babies born with this do not survive. What happens is that in the womb, the baby's diaphragm develops a hernia, or hole, and their organs wind up pushing through that hole, leaving little room for their lungs to grow. They are hooked up to machines as soon as they are born to help them breathe, have surgery after surgery, all in hopes that it will be enough to save them. Their parents don't even get to hold them, for fear of infection and complications. It's a terrible, awful thing to happen to babies and their parents. There's no known cause or cure yet. I know all this because I know a family who went through this last spring. Baby Penelope lived 33 days. She was my son in law's cousin. Parents should be bringing their babies home from the hospital, not having to take down their crib and make funeral arrangements. Please, take a few minutes and read more about CDH at the Cherubs website. We have to get this thing out in the public eye so more can be done to save these babies. You can donate to help fund research, donate items to be included in tote bags for the parents to have during their stay, and of course pray for these families. Hopefully soon everyone will know CDH as a condition that USED to happen to babies.

Hope, renewal, beginnings. Spring symbolizes all of this. It's a time to look ahead. Make it a new beginning for you. This spring has felt like a turning point for me, and I'm ready to begin the next season of my life. Just like the weather, I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but I trust in the One who brings it!

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