On Beauty, B cups and Believing Our Way Back to Innocence

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Seeking Eve Monday

“I wish to battle against the perspective that some people are ordinary and others are great … I really believe people can live ordinary lives in extraordinary ways.”

By Christina Crook

___________________________

Every woman who has given birth knows this is no ordinary feat. Yet, we are quick to reduce the enormity of our task to a brief remembering, a quaint vignette.

The truth is, every day we do the extraordinary.

We scrub floors on chaffed knees. Treat man, woman, child with dignity, with care. We climb corporate ladders. Extend our hands to the weak. We speak up when it’s uncomfortable. Rise at 3am to feed our babes.

We lead protests.

Carry petitions to the seat of Parliament. We train young eyes to seek Heaven. Deliver lasagna to the family next door. We watch for signs of Spring erupting all around us.

It’s extraordinarily normal women, like Andrea Dunbar, who make the world go round.

I first met Andrea in her tidy little bungalow in New Westminster, BC. The same house where her daughter Eden, was delivered by her father, a nurse, on the bathroom floor. The same home where the kitchen was full with the scent of fresh baking and the living room brim with the found and the made.

When I first asked to share Andrea’s story she declined, feeling she lived too much of a conventional life. For years I’ve hoped for a change of heart. This month, upon my return to British Columbia’s snowy interior, I got my wish.

“I regret my response to you when you [first] asked me to do this … I wish to battle against the perspective that some people are ordinary and others are great. I really believe that people can live ordinary lives in extraordinary ways,” she says from the small town of Mackenzie, where Andrea and her small family are spending the year with her in-laws.

While her husband, Robbie, works at the hospital, she is trying out homeschooling and getting out into the great outdoors with her two kids as often as possible.

Andrea is a public health nurse. When we first met she worked on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside at a clinic that served many prostitutes and lower income women. Each workday she’d bike the 50-kilometer round-trip.

To those around her, Andrea is a source of inspiration, quietly challenging them with the daily choices she makes.

“She is very conscious of her stewardship of this earth,” says her friend, Renice. “In a way that is not at all brash, she makes every effort to care for the earth and the people in it.

She goes beyond recycling. She uses only cloth diapers, buys local and keeps her home organic inside and out. Aside from all that is “green” related, she supports local talent, whether it be art or music and quietly engages others to do the same. She loves to surround herself with all things beautiful even if it’s as simple as a single flower.

Andrea is a modern-day Eve. Seeking to live as a daughter loved by God, desiring her Father’s purposes, longing to look more like Jesus.

___________________

In her own words …

Faith to me means … growing.

What I mean by that is … the people of faith that I most admire continue growing throughout their lives. When I was at Trinity Western University, 10 years ago, and thought I knew everything, the buzz word that I and my friends never wanted to describe us was “complacent.” When I was in university, I also greeted strangers with, “Did you know that Jesus loves you?” While my approach to people has changed–or “grown”–over the years, I still feel just as strongly about not becoming complacent. Knowing that I will continue to grow and learn, helps me look forward to getting older, despite the pervasive North American disdain for aging.

One of my favourite songs describes the Source of growth, life, beauty:

All this pain

I wonder if I’ll ever find my way

I wonder if my life could really change at all

All this earth

Could all that is lost ever be found

Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things out of us

All around

Life is springing up from this old ground

Out of chaos life is being found in You

-”Beautiful Things” by Michael and Lisa Gungor

When I was little I … didn’t want my dad to touch me. I have a photo of my bewildered dad trying to pick me up. I am about 12 years old, my face is red, I am crying and my arms are folded self-consciously over my chest. My dad was a man of integrity and was simply trying to connect with his daughter in a playful way. However, my trust and innocence were destroyed by another man in my life, a close relative. He was a very religious man who preached that Christmas trees were idols and girls needed to wear dresses to church. At the same time, he touched and kissed me in sexual ways. When I realized that he was the reason that touch from my dad felt threatening to me, I had to mourn all those lost years when I could have felt safe in my dad’s hug or touch. I now feel grateful for God’s work of restoration and rescuing in my life despite the darkness that tried to bury me in fear and confusion. I still have so much to learn about accepting love from my Father.

My days are filled with … the voices of two special little people. I have a video clip on my iPhone that was taken by my daughter a few days ago. The video shows a side view of me with my head tilted down at a book and my long brown hair shielding my face. The sound track is her sweet little voice,

“Hi Mama! Mama, look! It’s me, Eden. Mama … Mama, look!”

At this point I move for the first time to look up with a dazed smile on my face, “Hi, how are you?”

When she showed me this video, we laughed together. I couldn’t believe how profound it was to see me through her eyes.

I wish … I could say that was my first delayed response to my kids. But it wasn’t. It happens far too often. Sometimes it happens when I am *gasp* texting or looking at Facebook. This little video has made me so much more aware of what that looks like to my kids.

On a larger scale, I also wish that the demand for child and women sex slaves and pornography would stop. I want this generation of boys and young men to be different than so many of their fathers. I want this generation of girls and young women to know how beautiful they are and to know that beauty is so much more than skin and shape. I raise and educate (home school) my son and daughter with these hopes. I am so grateful for the honourable example of my husband, Robbie, and my dad, Fritz. These men infuse hope into my life for a world that has more justice, peace and love for women.

Today I give myself permission …

– to have moments where I feel like a terrible mom and know that He makes beautiful things out of the dust.

– to be 5’3” with funky glasses, long straight hair, ‘athletic’ build, A sometimes B cup breasts, little white bumps that keep popping up on my face including one that is right at the corner of my eye, dark moles all over my body, and fair skin and to feel beautiful, confident and loved.

_____________

Would you like to add your story to Seeking Eve Monday?

We’d love to hear your story. Please share it by emailing Christina at seekingeve[@]gmail.com

To find words for your story, try following these lines, as Andrea did:

Faith to me means [community / hope / food / sacrifice / art / etc] …

What I mean by that is …

When I was little I …

My days are filled with …

I wish …

The thing is …

Today I give myself permission …

______________

About Christina: 

Christina is a Toronto-based writer whose articles on culture, religion and technology have appeared in Vancouver, UPPERCASE and Geez magazine. She, her husband and two young children attend Grace Toronto Church. She is the founder of SeekingEve.ca and blogs at www.christinacrook.com.

 

 

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Idelette McVicker
If you only know one thing about me, I'd love for you to know this: I love Jesus, justice and living juicy. I also happen to drive a minivan and drink my lattes plain. (My life is exciting enough!) Nineteen years ago, I moved from Taiwan to Canada to marry Scott. We have two teenagers, a preteen, a Bernese Mountain dog and a restaurant. (Ask Scott to tell you our love story.) In 2010, I founded SheLovesmagazine.com and it has now grown to include a Dangerous Women membership community, a Red Couch Bookclub, events and gatherings. I'd like to think of it as curating transformational spaces for women in community. I long for women to be strong in our faith and voice, so we can be advocates for God’s heart for justice here on earth. As an Afrikaner woman, born and raised in South Africa during Apartheid, my story humbly compels me to step out for justice and everyday peacemaking. I have also seen firsthand the impact injustice has had on the lives and stories of women around the world. I refuse to stay silent. I am anti-racist and also a recovering racist. I am a Seven on the Enneagram, an INFP and I mostly wear black, with a dash of animal print or faux fur.
Idelette McVicker

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