Dion's random ramblings

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Identity theft on the internet... A woman using pictures of my son - for those who follow this link from elsewhere

If you've followed this link from elsewhere having heard about a woman stealing images of our son Liam, then please read the post below.


Dion (December 2009).

Every once in a while I notice a massive spike in the number of visitors to my blog.  When I start checking the referring site I normally find the same thing - since December 2006 a woman has been using pictures of my son Liam on various websites (I believe she mostly seeks sympathy, but I have also been told that she uses the pictures to try and get money from people).

So, when I noticed a spike in visits to my web page this week I checked the refering link (this time you can see it here) and saw exactly the same thing.  The investigation is still ongoing into the allaged perpetrator and some time ago it was suspected that another woman was attempting to frame someone.  That case is also under investigation.

Regardless, Megan and I are grateful for the many persons who have asked about Liam.  Here is a recent post from his 3rd birthday (16 November 2009).  We praise and thank God that he is well!

If you're interested in the story about the woman who stole his pictures you can scroll to the bottom of this post and read about it there.

Just to say that Megan and I are long past getting upset about this sad situation.  We pray for the person who is doing this, and we hope that she finds healing and peace before she gets into trouble or that she seeks help before she is caught.  Also just to mention that the woman who is doing this often visits my blog (we have a trace on the range of IP addresses that she uses).  When she does there will often be a string of comments.  I delete them, so if you see deleted comments on this post in the next few days you'll know why

Post on Liam's Birthday 16 November 2009.

It was three years ago today that Liam entered this world!  How wonderful it is to celebrate his 3rd birthday!!!!

The 15th of November was one of the most difficult days of our lives as Megan went into labour for the third and final time, then just 27 weeks into her pregnancy.  She had been in hospital for about two weeks since she first went into labour after falling ill in her 26th week of pregnancy.

On the that evening I had just arrived home with Courtney after visiting Megan in hospital when the phone rang and the doctor asked me to come back as quickly as I could.  I took Courtney to our friend Madika's home and raced back to the hospital where Megan was already in the delivery room.  An hour or so later little Liam entered the world at barely 1kg.

Naturally we were overjoyed at his birth, but we knew that we had a journey ahead of us.  As Megan was wheeled into surgery after the birth I stood by as the doctor and nurses prepared Liam to go into the intensive care unit at Pretoria East hospital (the neonatal ICU).  He was so tiny and fragile.

Well, you can follow some of the story here, and some other bits here.

About a week or so after Liam's birth we took this picture of him with this tiny little teddy-bear.  Look how small he was!

We prayed through the day and night, and had many wonderful friends and family praying with us!  Liam remained under the wonderful care of the ICU unit for almost three months.  They were truly wonderful, not only caring for him medically and for us emotionally, but they even worked out a way to help us when our medical aid funds ran out two days before Christmas!  The hospital and doctors negotiated a reduced rate so that we could keep him in the ICU.  It was truly a magnificent Christmas gift!

Of course there were the many friends, like Wessel Bentley and his wonderful congregation who helped us to cover the almost quarter of a million rand shortfall that we had for his medical expenses.  Between our friends, and an extension to our home loan we were able to cover the costs entirely and soon Liam was at home growing at a rate of knots!!!

There have been a few little moments inbetween, he has been in hospital a few times (as you'll see from the links above), and we still have to pay some attention to his physical and cognitive development.

But, these little hiccups are not even worth considering in comparison to the joy of his life!!  He is growing up to be such an incredible little guy!  He has a wonderful sense of humour, he roughs it with the best of them (climbing, running and jumping), and like his dad, he loves his bicycle!

We were cautioned to expect the worst, and we are thankful that we have only been blessed with the very best!

Here's an updated photograph of our little miracle boy taken this morning... Just look how much he has grown in relation to that same little blue teddy-bear!!

Today Liam turned 3 years old, and we give thanks to God for the gift of his life!

Courtney and Liam are the most precious gifts we have ever received!  Please take a few moments to give thanks to God with us for Liam, and perhaps also to thank God for your children.
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Here is the original post about the identity theft (from here).

Update 26 March 2008: Thank you for stopping in to check out this post. The woman in these pictures, who stole pictures of our son and many others from what the police have told us, is clearly not well. Please do offer a prayer for her. But also please do be very careful of her (particularly if you encounter her in real life). Her real name is Sammie Banks. See her myspace profile here. You can also see her teenscene profile here.

I would suggest that you keep your children as far as possible from her, and immediately alert your local police if you see her! She lives in the United Kingdom. We have naturally alerted the UK police (Cybercrimes and identity theft) who have an ongoing investigation into the matter, as well as interpol who have also opened an investigation. Naturally I cannot comment on the content of these investigations. It is, however, just a matter of time before she is apprehended. The link to the baby announcement below is no longer operative. The kind administrator removed all photos of Liam. However, if you wish to find more details on this woman (Samie Banks) you can follow link removed upon the request of the form since there is an investigation pending. Thanks!.

To see a collection of photos that she has 'stolen' from us and other parents you can follow this link (the password to log in is bailey).

The woman in question has tried to make contact with us using various aliases and different email addresses. In each case we simply forward all correspondence to the relevant authorities who assure us that she is being closely monitored.

Original post of December 2007 below:
This is truly bizarre! An unwell woman is using pictures of my son (and the details of my son and daughter) on various parenting websites! See the picture of her on the right, and compare that to two of the original pictures I posted back in November 2006 when I announced Liam's birth

This morning I received an email from the moderator of a website in Australia - the website has a forum for mothers to discuss birthing and parenting issues, and support one another. The moderator informed me that a woman from (who I believe is from England) had signed up to the forums announcing that she had given birth to a premature baby at 29 weeks...

She had posted numerous photos, various descriptions of her experience in giving birth to a premature son named 'Kabe', and had received a great deal of support and encouragement from members of the forum. However, the moderator of the forum noticed a few strange things in the posts and photographs and so decided to check it out...

When she investigated she discovered that this woman (see the picture above) was claiming to have had mine and Megan's children (Liam and Courtney), and one other child! She photoshopped her face over Megan's picture in the birth announcement!

Then, you'll see in the picture below (click on it to enlarge it) that she simply lifted, and reposted, two pictures of Liam, renaming him 'Kabe' (you can see our original pictures of Liam here and here).

I am not posting the link to the forums on which she posted the information about Liam etc. - she has been banned from there and various other forums. However, if you want to see the site that she set up with the birth announcement you can click here DON'T type in your email address (just to be safe)! Simply use the password kabe to gain access.

What does one do? I am at a bit of a loss... It is scary to think that someone has targeted one's children in this manner! Is there anyone out there who has any idea how we can trace who this is and put a stop to it? Off site email will be the best means to contact me (see the link on the right of this page).

Thanks for any help or advice!

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Update on Liam 29 December 2006 - So much to give thanks for!

I came across some photos this morning that I took with my cell phone camera (so please forgive the quality). They were taken over the last 7 weeks.

In these photographs you can see just how far Liam has come!

This photo was taken about a week after his birth. Here Liam weighed around 1.2kg's. He was so fragile and small (as you can see his whole body was the size of my hand, he still had oxygen, a feeding tube, respiration sensors, temperature sensors, blood oxygen probes, and heart rater sensors).

This is a similar photo, look how small he was! When he was first born, at 27 weeks, he was still very foetal. He seldom dropped his legs. Megie and I used to joke and say he looks like a cornish hen!

I have posted this photograph before. It gives a real perspective on just how small and thin little Liam WAS. Notice the emphasis on WAS! We praise God that he is not like this at all now. He now weighs 1.755kg's (that's about 600 grams more than his birth weight). That is almost a 50% weight gain, and it is amazing how much that growth has filled him out. Look at Liam's little premature nappy in the photos above. The nappies almost covered his whole torso at that stage. Now, however, they fit like regular nappies.

Compare Liam's size in relation to his teddy in this photo and the one below.

In the first 'teddy photo' (taken in week 1) Liam was almost exactly the same size as his little teddy, however, in this second photo (taken in week 5/6) his little teddy is not even half of Liam's size. How incredible is that for 5 weeks!? Also, see how his cheeks have filled out! He is turning into a chubby little lad. He is still tiny (about the size of a 3/4 loaf of bread).

Well, we certainly have SO MUCH to be thankful for (here's little Liam joining us for a prayer)! Liam has been infection free, peaceful, and grown consistently over the last 7 weeks. We cannot thank God enough for God's faithfulness, mercy, healing, and care! Liam now weighs 1.755kg's. He started with one breast feed a day two days ago. Now it is just a matter of getting him up to 8 feeds on the breast per day, making sure that he get enough food from that to both stay hydrated and grow, and then if he keeps that up for a few days he may be allowed home early! He will be on one breast feed a day for a few days (as he gets used to feeding, slowly picks up his weight over 1.8kg's, and gets used to the 'exercise' of having to suck for his food. His lungs will grow and mature through all of this). If he keeps his weight and manages one feed for a few days, then he will have two feeds for a few days, then three, four, five, all the way up to a full eight feeds in 24 hours. This could take a few weeks. However, at his current pace he should be home at least two or three weeks earlier than expected (perhaps some time in the second or third week of January). So, please keep praying for him, and all of us. We give thanks to God, and ask you to join with us in thanking God, for Liam's healthy growth.

A blessed and joyous year ahead. May the miracles of this year be found in and surpassed by the ordinary events of 2007.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The greatest Christmas ever!

Three posts in one day!? It's little wonder that it has been raining here over Christmas! However, we have so much to share and give thanks for.

Here's a picture of little Liam and I on Christmas eve (can you tell from the decorations in the background?) Here you can see how Liam has grown. He is still a little thin, but at least he looks like a baby (and not like an old man!) He is growing up so quickly! He now weighs 1.68kg's and is saturating naturally. In fact if he continues to grow so well we may have him home in the next two or three weeks!

Megie, Courtney and I spent Christmas with our little lad Liam in the neonatal ICU. He is the greatest gift ever!! We are so grateful for the nurses and doctors who spent Christmas day at the hospital. Their dedication is inspiritational. Courtney got to visit with us since it is Christmas. We scrubbed her down, and then she got to hold her little brother Liam for almost an hour. It was bliss for her! This is only the third time that she has seen him in 6 weeks, and the very first time that she has been allowed to touch him. We are so thankful to God for the care and mercy that God has shown us in Liam's growth and good health.

Hey Pete, notice that I'm wearing my favourite T Shirt! Thanks for the gift friend! I could hardly believe it when the package arrived and there was a Vespa T Shirt from Pete in there. I have been looking for one for years now!!!!

A blessed Christmas to all our friends and family. Thank you so much for your prayers, good wishes, and kind support. We pray that your experience of the gifts of being in Christ will be as rich and deep as ours has been over the last two months. It is wonderful to be in Christ, and a member of Christ's body.

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The Pope get's it right!

I am not a huge fan of Pope Benedict the XVI. In his previous position, as the Cardinal in charge of the 'Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith', he silenced many of the most progressive and sensible theologians of our time (these in include Hans Kung and Leonardo Boff).

However, there is no doubt that he is one of the most astute theologians of our time. He is well read, extremely intelligent, and has the power and authority to change trends in global theological discourse, and of course political and economic policy.

As a result I always try to read the Pope's Christmas address. I loved the central message of his address this year. I quote:

Pope Benedict said in his Christmas message on Monday that mankind [sic] [should read humankind], which has reached other planets and worships technology, cannot live without God or turn its back on the hungry.

I would encourage all my students, friends, and fellow Christians to read the superb summary on the CNN website. You can find a synopsis of Pope Benedict's message

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Geekier than thou!

Today I realised just what a Geek I am. I overheard my daughter trying to explain to her friends that her Daddy is a Doctor, but not a Doctor who operates on people, no, her daddy reads books, looks at people's brains, teaches people, and loves computers....

Yup, even my daughter thinks I am Doctor Geek. Well, in 2007 there is nothing cooler than being a Geek! The world is changing! Girls used to love football players, now they love the guy who can operate their Personal Video Recorder, hack the local municipality computer to squash their traffic fines, and who is geeky enough to work for Apple, Google or Microsoft (in that order) and get the BIG MONEY!

You may remember this wonderful cartoon that I blogged about a year and half ago (June 2005)? It illustrates that Geeks rule in the new world!

So, to remind you of that, I thought I would use this fallow time between Christmas and New year to share a few Geek quotes... Learn these and you'll be off to a good Geek start for 2007. They come from here.

Top 10 Geek Quotes:
1. There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't. - Unknown

2. If at first you don't succeed; call it version 1.0 - T-Shirt

3. Microsoft: "You've got questions. We've got dancing paperclips." - Unknown

4. My pokemon bring all the nerds to the yard, and they're like you wanna trade cards? Darn right, I wanna trade cards, I'll trade this but not my charizard. - Unknown

5. 1f u c4n r34d th1s u r34lly n33d t0 g37 a l1f3 - tee shirt

6. I'm not anti-social; I'm just not user friendly - T-Shirt

7. Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning. - Unknown

8. A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila. - Unknown

9. This one's my favourite! I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code
- Unknown

10. My software never has bugs. It just develops random features. - Unknown

There you have it... If you understand more than 5 of these you're a Geek. If you understand number 1, you're rated an UBER Geek (with ubermicro.... See www.purpwnage.com for more on ubermicro). However, based on my daughter, I am Geekier than thou!

Any other UberGeeks out there!? Any better quotes? I'd love to hear from you! The comments button is just a mouse click away.

PS. The title for this post, and the cartoon, come from a great website called geek culture... I bought a few pins and T-Shirts from them. They also have a fantastic daily cartoon!

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

A blessed Christmas!

As we celebrate the birth of a very special boy, the boy child Christ, saviour of the world, Megan, Courtney and I give thanks for the birth of our own little miracle - Liam Angus Forster (a.k.a BJ... Search the blog if this doesn't make any sense).

We thank God for his birth, for his strength, and for the gift that he is to us. His life has allowed us to experience the grace, love and provision of God in new and unimaginable ways. His life has allowed us to experience your love and care. His life has reminded us what really counts. There can be no greater gift than this.

Take a look at his little hands below, they are so small that he can barely get them around my finger.

However, these hands are powerful, powerful enough to bring me to tears. They are filled with life and potential. Dwight D. Eisenhower once commented, ?What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog". We thank God for making Liam so much stronger than his weak little body. We give thanks to God for the gift of life, the life of His son Jesus who strengthens and renews us, and the gift of the life of our little son Liam who has reminded us again of the gift of life.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Update on Liam - 20 December 2006.

Hello everybody!

Liam the great is doing just great! He now weighs 1.565kg's. He picked up a bit of a fever last night, we pray that it is not the onset of an infection. However, his temperature has gone up before, they simply strip him down to his nappy and open the little hand vents on his incubator and his temperature usually drops. So! Let's hope. He has had a few baths in the last two weeks. He hates being stripped down, but, he LOVES being in the water (I guess it reminds him of the womb - if he was still in the womb at this point he would be at about 33 weeks of pregnancy with another 7 or so to go before birth).

He has been getting stronger and stronger each day. We hope that Megie will be able to start breastfeeding him some time in the next week or so. Apparently once that happens his growth will be accelerated a little more, since the effort it takes to feed matures the lungs a bit, and also helps to metabolise his feeds. Look at these little eyes! I can't tell you how awesome it is to hold him for a bit each day!!!!

Megan is now on leave (her offices closed last week Friday). This means that she has a bit less stress, a bit more time to be at the hospital, and when she is not waking up to express milk, she can catch a little catnap (although those who know Megie know that she hasn't done any resting.... She has been busy, busy, busy - sorting out Christmas presents, fixing up Liam's room, taking care of Courtney). Courtney has been enjoying her school holidays. She has spent some time with Megie's mom, my mom, some of her friends, and her favourite, Megie's sister Gwen!! So, Courts is very happy at the moment. Although. I am sure you can imagine she is quite excited about the prospect of seeing her brother for a few minutes again on Christmas. I am doing fine.

Thanks again to everyone for your prayers, emails, and messages. Janet Cope (my colleague from Bryanston Methodist Church prepared a whole lot of pre-cooked curries (my favourite meal) for me to eat! Megie and Courts have been eating meals prepared by Julia, so we are very well taken care of! Thanks everyone.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

One pUnK under God! This is not your grandma's Church...

CAUTION: This post has a few out links please check them out once you've read this entry and posted some comments!

A post by my good friend Dr Bentley got me thinking. Read his post it is a well reasoned and thought provoking challenge to those of us (myself included) who feel the need to 'defend' God (and the Church).

The converse to his argument is the following very interesting CNN article on Jay Bakker (son of Televangelist Jim Bakker). He has become so concerned with how the religious right have damaged Christ, and Christianity, that he has formed a 'self styled', relevant, counter Christian culture (note NOT counter Christian, just counter conservative Christian cultural) expression of Church.

Here's a very short (30 second) video clip that will give you some idea of this young tatooed Christian evangelist. (It is a flash based video, so if you're on dialup just start it and come back in two or three minutes and it will completely loaded).

As he rightly says, "this is not your granny's Church"! Do yourself a favour (if you have broadband) and do a search for Jay Bakker on youtube.com. There is a fascinating 3 minute documentary on his Church. It seeks to be inclusive, to hold back on judgement, to share the love and acceptance of Christ, to preach peace, agitate against war (in fact it seems to take a stand against just about everything that his dad, and other conservative evangelicals in the USA stand for).

One punk under God! What do you think? Could this kind of Church work for you? Would it make a difference among young people in our context?

PS. I have been trying to convince Megie to let me get just ONE ARM in a sleeve tatoo! Somehow she won't let me! Maybe she's too sensible! Ha ha. Heck, you don't get more proper than a minister, with a doctorate....

Friday, December 15, 2006

Update on Liam - 14 December 2006.

Yesterday Liam the Great (slayer of Oxygen, dirtier of Nappies, conqueror of Neonatal ICU, lover of Incubation) celebrated his 4 week birthday! This is an answer to prayer, and a real milestone, because he gets a little bit stronger each day. Megan and I both feel confident that he passed the major danger points, now it's just fattening him up! His last weight was 1.4kg's.

Here's a picture of Liam getting his first bath from Megie (he had previously had a quick wash down from one of the nurses). His bath had to be done with the oxygen attached, however, we disconnected the probes from the monitors. It also had to be a very quick in and out since he cannot keep his body temperature for too long

Bathing him was quite a big deal for us, since it is something 'normal'. Megie did so well! Remember, it has been about 7 years since we've had to do this. Of course the fact that he still has a few tubes and lots of wires makes it a little more complicated. However, this is one instance in which is size is a real plus. He is small enough for Megie to hold him almost completely in one of her hands, with his legs and a few bits dangling onto her wrist. I, of course, did what most dads do... I held a video camera!

I can, however, assure you that I am a champion at changing nappies! And, at this stage, quite adept at feeding (although our hope is that soon I will not have the 'equipment' to do what is necessary). Until then it is a daily joy to hold him for an hour or so whilst he gets his feed.

Once again, thank you so much for all the encouraging messages, prayers, and practical help (yesterday Jules, one of our worship leaders at Bryanston, arrived with about 10 frozen meals!) It is wonderful to be loved, and incredible to experience God's provision, both in supernatural and miraculous healing, and in tangible care and concern! Where would we be without our faith in Christ, and the love of the body of Christ?

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Update on Liam - 10 December 2006.

Our little miracle boy turned 3 weeks old on Thursday! Each day is a gift from God!

Here's a picture of me giving him his dinner.

He was getting 27 ml per feed when that photo was taken. However, the Doctor has taken his feeds down to 23 ml per feed. I cannot tell you what a roller-coaster ride each day is! Liam suddenly started with very disturbing behaviour about 3 days ago. He would simply stop breathing and his heart would stop! It is known as arythmia (not sure of the spelling). It would seem that some sort of drop in heart rate is quite normal after a feed. However, his has been a little more extreme. His full tummy seems to have two effects on him. Firsltly, a full tummy puts pressure on his litte lungs which makes it difficult for him to breath. Secondly, when his tummy is full he falls into a deep sleep and simply forgets to breath and let his heart beat! Thankfully, he is well connected! So, the moment his respiration drops, his heart beat drops, or his blood oxygen saturation drops the alarms sound! Then it just takes a couple of shakes to wake him and he gets going again. Amazing isn' it!? But, scary at the same time. It has meant that Megie and I have felt the need to spend as much time as possible with him to make sure that he is OK.

Here's a picture of our little lad sleeping in his incubator holding dad's hand.

And here's a picture of him wide awake holding Megie's hand.

Please keep your prayers going!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The irony of 'Success'.

Do you remember what irony is (that sounds like a high school English exam question)?

Here's a brief little definition from answers.com:

irony (?'r?-n?, ?'?r-)
n., pl. -nies.

a. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.
b. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.
c. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect. See synonyms at wit1.
d. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: ?Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated? (Richard Kain).
e. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity.

The title of this post explains something of the irony that I encountered last week. Our daughter goes to a great school just around the corner from our home and my office, it is the Mount Edmund Christian Brother's College. Last week we had the joy of attending Courtney's prize giving ceremony. It was a wonderful celebration! I can hardly believe that she has already finished Grade 1!

The prize giving is an opportunity for the school teachers to acknowledge the work of the scholars and do so by presenting them with certificates and awards. These included such awards as "Exceptional reading skills", "Above average numeracy and mathematical ability", "Perseverance", and my all time favourite "Tenacity". You have to know that the students who got the award for tenacity gave their teachers hell! It is a polite way of saying "you're difficult". Go on, look up the word 'tenacity' in google, you'll see that it is a noun that means you are stubborn and unyielding! The more I think of it, tenacity would be the award I would be most likely to qualify for!

Anyway, I digress, so students get these awards. But of course, there are those students who don't get awards (in grade 1, these are fairly few and far between). However, so as to acknowledge that the kids turned up for school, did their bit, and gave the teachers a little bit less than hell (i.e., they didn't qualify for the 'tenacity' award), students who did not get a specific award were called up on stage, by name, to collect their report cards!! Yup, you heard me! Thankfully, the headmaster didn't read their report cards to the whole assembly. That sounds like a recurring dream I used to have as a teenager.... But let's not go there.

Here's the irony!

In one of the classes one of the only boys who DID NOT receive an award was named 'Success'. Yup, his name is Success. Heck, he didn't even get the tenacity award!

That got me thinking.... I wonder if he had heard the use of the word success so often that he had simply become accustomed to mediocrity?

You know, this is a common problem. I have encountered it in marriage counselling situations, where couples forget the gift of love, and so take it for granted. I have seen it in work, where people forget the privilege of working (when there are so many persons unemployed) and so they slack off at their jobs. I have seen it in the way that parents treat their children. I have certainly seen it in the way that students for the ministry go from being eager to serve, and called to ministry, to being ungrateful and demanding.

I suppose, it's the irony of success... You get used to it, and so you simply slack off and take things for granted.

In literature the Russian formalists had a word for this, Ostranenie, it means 'defamiliarization', Viktor Shklovsky said that "Habit devours objects, clothes, furniture, one's wife and the fear of war..." However, he also believed that there is an antidote to defamiliarization; the antidote is creating an awareness and appreciation of the giftedness and blessing of all life and living. Shklovsky writes, "Art exists to help us recover the sensation of life".

He is right! Yesterday as I was leaving the hospital I saw people for the first time in weeks. I noticed the evening sky for the first time in years! It was lovely! I came home to my wife and daughter, and thanked God for them.

I find that worship does the same thing for me. When I worship God, I not only remind myself who God is, what God can do, and what God lovingly does in the world, but I also remind myself that I am loved by that all powerful, all knowing, all loving God, and that every detail of my life is important to God. God never becomes so familiar with my life, so at ease with my brokenness and sin, that my 'success' is nothing more than a failure.

With God there is no irony, just grace, hope, and love. At times such as these, I give thanks to God! It is good to be alive, and it is good not to be too familiar with living.

Update on Liam - 5 December 2006.

Firstly, a huge thanks from Megie, Courts, Liam (AKA BJ) and I for all the prayers, calls, messages and emails! It is wonderful to be cared for in this manner. It reminds me of a line from the Emmaus spiritual directors handbook that is shared at one of the community gatherings which says something like "isn't it wonderful to see the body of Christ caring for itself in such love?" We do truly feel loved and cared for!

Well, here is a recent picture of our little lad. Please forgive the poor quality of the image, it was taken with my cell phone. The GREAT news is that he picked up a few grams in his weight. He is now weighing in at a whopping 1.19 kilograms. He has been getting a supplement that helps him to gain weight a little faster (it gets mixed into the 25 Mils of breast milk).

Some folks have asked why he needs to be fed through a tube. There are two reasons. Firstly, he has not yet developed the sucking reflex that allows him to feed on his own (I believe that only comes somewhere around 34-36 weeks). Although he is learning to suck a little, it is not yet at the stage where he could feed. Secondly, until he weighs around 1.8 kilograms, the effort it takes to feed would be greater than the nutrition he would get from a full feed. So, in essence, he would loose energy (and so weight) rather than gain it at this stage. So, the solution is to pop the milk directly into his tummy for him to metabolise it from there. He seems to do that pretty well! He is realising that feeds come every three hours and so he starts to niggle a little when it gets close to feeding time.

Here's another picture of little Liam contemplating the weight to energy ratio of premature infants in neonatal ICU. I could show you the mathematical formula he wrote out for me to understand this discrepancy, but that would be showing off! So, take my word for it, differential calculus is a breeze for him at 31 weeks!

At this stage Megie and I are juggling our time between the hospital and work. Megie went back to work last week for half days, and has taken leave for half a day to be at the hospital in the afternoons. She needs to do this so that she can save her maternity leave for when Liam comes out of the hospital some time in January or February (more or less when he was to be born). Unfortunately if she stays away from work now she will loose almost two months of her maternity leave.

I have also been running between various meetings and my office to the hospital. I try to spend an hour or so at with Liam in the late afternoons. However, I tend to take the nights at the ICU and take my laptop and some work with me so that things can carry one more or less at a regular pace.

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