Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Strength of a Woman

This post is written in honor of my dear wife Mini, and of women in general. I have been so impressed with Mini for as long as I have known her, and particularly for these past nine months of her pregnancy and the beginning of life with our sweet little Lily. Mini showed so much perseverance, patience, and strength in bearing Lily for nine months. She was so courageous and strong in giving birth to Lily two weeks ago – naturally, without any medications at that! And these past two weeks, while her body is still recovering from the ordeal of delivery, there’s been no holiday or Sabbath from round-the-clock feeding times every two to three hours. Sleep has taken a back seat to keeping “Mini’s Diner” open around the clock for her little girl who needs her. Mini has a great sense of humor, and she was joking the other day that in one respect the past two weeks have been like a bad fraternity hazing experience, complete with physical pain, sleep deprivation, and nutrients regularly sucked from your body! Mommy’s done great through it all nonetheless, and I am duly impressed. If you reply, “Well, that’s no different from what all new moms do,” then that is all the more reason to respect and honor every one of those moms from Eve onward, rather than to diminish the efforts and achievements of this one new mommy in particular. Here’s to the strength (and love) of a woman!

PS: These pictures were taken just five days before Mini gave birth.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Kid Gloves

“Introducing the new, flyweight champion of the world… LILY… GRACE… PALMER!”

Lily is 10 days old today. We are getting used to the 24 hour round-the-clock routine of food time, nap time, and love time. It’s been challenging of course, but we are managing, and constantly grateful for the precious little cause of all the fuss. It’s so worth it. I love to hold her, sing to her, just look into her eyes and feel the awe and wonder of having a little girl to love for the rest of my life.

OK, I can't resist -- here's another picture of our sweetie, after her very first bath...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Arrival of our daughter, Lily Grace Palmer

With great joy we announce the arrival of our daughter, Lily Grace Palmer. Lily is a pretty name we both liked, which is used in both US and Indian cultures. We chose Grace for her middle name, because that’s what our precious little girl is to us, and we pray she experiences God’s grace in full measure, and becomes a person of grace, as she grows up.

Lily was born at 12:48 pm on Sunday, June 11, 2006. Mother and daughter are both doing fine apart from obvious weariness and soreness for Mini. Mini started active labor at about 4:30 am Sunday, and progressed quickly. She pushed from 9:10 am until 12:48 pm. Mini did great and I was so proud of her. Lily was 7 pounds and 2 ounces at birth, and 21.5 inches long. She has mommy’s curly black hair, and daddy’s big hands and feet, and long torso. I think she's going to be tall. Lily is so adorable. She was born alert and wide awake, and was lifting her head and looking around wide-eyed at her new surroundings from her first moments of life in the big wide world, and motioning with her hands. It was so cute.

We look forward to introducing our sweet little girl to you.

Pray for the new parents, as well as our new, precious little girl! We can't wait to see all the blessings and joys that God has in store for us and for Lily in the coming days and years.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Baby Palmer takes Mommy and Daddy into Overtime

Our pregnancy has now gone into “overtime.” Baby Palmer was due yesterday, June 9. But he or she apparently is not quite finished baking in there. Mini felt some light “practice” contractions last night, so we are hoping we are very close to meeting this little person currently veiled behind an inch or so of mommy’s tummy. We can hardly wait!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

What's in a name? Why this blog is called "The Palmers' Pilgrimage"

Did you know that the origin of the surname “Palmer” dates back to the Middle Ages in England? It refers to a religious pilgrim, someone who goes on pilgrimage to a holy place, such as the city of Jerusalem. Medieval Christian pilgrims who went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem were given a palm branch as they entered the city, hearkening back to Jesus triumphal entry (see John 12: 12-13). They were then called "palmers" in reference to their palm branch. In the late 14th Century, the great poet Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340 – 1400) referred to these “palmers” in the opening lines of the Canterbury Tales:
[In the Spring months, as nature comes alive…]
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage.
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.
(from the General Prologue, lines 12-14)

I love the associations between palmers and pilgrims, because, of course, the Christian life of faith is commonly referred to as a pilgrimage, a journey through this world to our heavenly home. John Bunyan’s book Pilgrim’s Progress, of course, is the classic example. There are a number of passages in Scripture from which this concept of God’s people as pilgrims comes – we are strangers and exiles on this earth, sojourners who are on the way to our true homeland, for which we eagerly long:

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11, KJV)

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. (1 Peter 1:17, ESV)

By faith he (Abraham) went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, …for he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. (Hebrews 11: 9-10, ESV)

These all died in faith, …having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11: 13-16, ESV)

These texts have been very significant to me throughout my adult life. My longing is and has been to live my life “for the joy set before me,” with my eyes fixed on Jesus and my eternal home, as a pilgrim and sojourner on this earth. Hence the name of this blog. I hope it serves as an ongoing reminder and inspiration to me and others, to live every day and to do everything in eager anticipation of the better country, the city that has foundations.