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musings from an old rocking chair, on my front porch.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Facing East 

Disclaimer...written with kids screaming in the background...

I checked out the book Facing East from the library yesterday. Jim and I read the preface and the prologue together last night. I think it's going to be a wonderful part of our journey, especially for me. We just finished Peter Gullquist's book, but it is refreshing to read a woman's perspective. The funny thing about this whole Orthodox journey is that it was originally my idea. Frankly, evangelical protestantism had nearly done me in of late with it's ever shifting focus and truths. There's no freedom to be who you are when your always second guessing what are supposed to be core beliefs...and this seems to now be encouraged...especially in the "post-modern" church. There's a lot of fear there...and I seem to remember a little verse somewhere in 1 John about there being no fear in love...where is the love in current evangelical circles. I'm sure it's supposed to be there, but I hadn't felt it recently.

Interestingly enough, my journey into this whole Orthodox thing coincided with some difficult soul searching which occurred over the summer....the two or three of you who read this with some regularity actually suffered with me through all of that! Much of it was brought on by a Bible study called Breaking Free by Beth Moore (and Peter Gabriel...I suppose I should give him credit!). Beth focuses her study on these verses from Isaiah 61:

1The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, because the LORD has appointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. 2He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD's favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies. 3To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory. 4They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities long ago destroyed. They will revive them, though they have been empty for many generations

Broken hearted? Boy was I ever. Captive? Yup. Mourn? Yes, I knew what it meant to mourn. It seemed I would never have all the answers...no matter where I searched. Church was supposed to fill me up, yet Sunday after Sunday I felt empty. I blamed myself...I wasn't doing enough. I tried to concentrate on the sermons. I can honestly say I gleaned some truths from some of them. I enjoyed my ladies Bible Study immensely and felt as if I was a part of something. But still, it just wasn't enough. I longed for that connection I had felt as a child standing together with my mother and father and reciting,

I believe in God the Father almighty,
maker of Heaven and Earth
and in Jesus Christ,
His only begotten son our Lord...

The profession of faith. We all believed it, had for centuries. It was a firm place to plant my feet. When your feet are on solid ground it is ever so much easier to discover who you are and who you can become. If your feet reside on shifting sand, the focus turns to keeping your footing and who you are and who you can become gets lost in the shuffle. That's where I was, lost in the shuffle. Honestly, I was ready to throw it all away. Not my faith, I still believed in Jesus with all my heart. I said yes all those years ago, alone in the dark in my room. I couldn't take it back. But I'd had it with church and organized religion. It had truly failed me...

But those Orthodox folk on that website continued to be who they were...gently stating their opinions on church. And I started to listen. Every now and then, I'd mention my interest to Jim...following up with "Oh Great Mystery." Jim was a little baffled by the whole thing. Finally, one of those Orthodox folk mentioned the Gillquist book. Jim ordered it and a few others and once we stopped going to church, we started reading those books. Jim took to it immediately. I'm probably more hesitant than he now simply because I thought we would move a little more slowly and Jim is jumping in with both feet! I do feel slightly as if I am in the wagon, he with the reins in his hands leading us into the unknown territory of the wild, wild...east! But it is a good sort of scary...and I imagine the questions that come up will be answered in some form or another. Many others have made this pioneer's journey back to the faith of our fathers...and found a home.

Here is a quote from Frederica's book, Facing East:

Truth turns into Beauty in unexpected ways. What was strange and perplexing has become my sweetest home. (xxii)

Wow...I'm ready to go home...

A trip to the library... 

The books are supposed to make it eventful...not actual physical happenings!

I felt earlier today as if I needed to get the kids out of the house. Not sure if they were well enough yet to run around at the park, I decided to go to the library. It's nice and quiet there...we could rent a new Muppet Show DVD and I could pick up the book I had on hold( Facing East by Frederica Matthewes-Green). The playground at the mall is out forever as a form of diversion for my kids as I swear it was likely there that they contracted this latest plague. We loaded up the van and off we went. A nice simple little trip to the library.

The usual 10 minute trip was increased to 30 due to the left lane of traffic being closed, and Ana fell asleep, the warm car and cough medicine taking their toll. She woke up easily once we arrived. I checked out two DVD's, a new "Muppet Show" and "Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader," and the book. I then thought it would be fun to take the kids to the children's section and let them play and/or read books. They have one of those contraptions with bunches of little beads threaded through wire set up in the children's area which does actually amuse the kids for a while. Ana decided to sit at a little table and "read." She likes to tell stories about the pictures...

"My tummys hurts," she said.

"It does?" I answered, "Do you have to poop."

"No, I no have to poop."

"K," I said disentangling David from the ball contraption.

Once I was exhausted from re-shelving all the books the kids decided to take off the shelves just for the sheer fun of it, I decided it was time to leave. I allowed Ana to walk back to the car instead of forcing her screaming back into the stroller and so noticed a dark area on the seat of her pants as she went on before me. "Please oh please let that be a shadow!" I thought.

When we arrived at the car I discovered it wasn't a shadow. The amazing thing was it didn't smell either! Oh great mystery! I of course had to pull her pants down...smearing poop all over her little legs. And even though it didn't smell...it was quite adhesive! It took about 10 wipes to get all of it off. Poor Ana was naked in front of God and everybody in the library parking lot for about 10 minutes, I kid you not.

"Did it come out so fast you couldn't stop it?" I asked.

"Yeah," Ana replied.

Poor thing. It's the antibiotic and also the fact that's she's not eating much. Mainly drinking juice and eating popsicles. Since she started potty training at 18 months I can count on one hand the number of poop accidents she's had. Ah well, I put a diaper on her and started to put her back in the car seat.

"Geega," she said.

"Your blankey," I replied and looked in the stroller. Not there. Normally I don't allow "geega" into public places anymore. But she was feeling badly and so I relented...and now "geega" was gone!

"Is it in the library," I asked.

She solemnly shook her head yes, tears beginning to pool in her huge blue eyes.

Back in the stroller and into the library...Ana's lower half covered only by a diaper. We found "geega" in the first place I looked. I guess my guardian angel didn't completely desert me today! While there I decided to make sure Ana hadn't soiled the seat she was "reading" in. It was clean. All was well.

We made it home with a minimum of difficulty. David is now sleeping and Ana is watching the Muppets. The same DVD I had returned to the library. I should've checked the box a little more carefully...At least she likes it!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Quiet... 

If only for a moment...the house is quiet from the cough monster...

It's very quiet right now. No one is coughing at the moment....pretty crazy! I took the kids to the doctor yesterday expecting to be told they just have garden variety colds and we'll have to tough it out. The doctor looked in Ana's mouth and said, "Well she's bleeding from somewhere!"

"What?" I said.

"Her tonsils are so inflamed and swollen they are bleeding," he reported.

"Does she have strep?" I managed to keep my question below scream level.

"No. It's just her tonsils. Not her throat."

Crap. I felt like crying at that moment. Crying because my little girl was likely in a lot of pain and hadn't said anything about it. I also felt incredibly guilty because I have a wait and see approach with runny noses. I don't like to run to the doctor at the first sign of slime as often times it is just a cold and it will pass on it's own with lots of fluids and rest. Why put the kids through a needless doctor's visit? I also am not a mom who has to have my kids on an antibiotic for every little thing. I've actually read recently that the majority of ear infections are viral, not bacterial and will heal on their own. The antibiotics do no good.

The sniffles started on Sunday. I decided to wait and see. By Tuesday, the kids were coughing but I still didn't think it was serious. They didn't sleep Tuesday night so I then decided to call the doctor. My baby's throat is bleeding. I felt like the worst mom in America at that point.

"Apparently," the doctor said, "it progressed rapidly to a bacterial infection."

Oops. I guess I'll be a little more quick to respond next time. No more bleeding throats if I can help it.

Meting out "the pink stuff."

Laura

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Cold Rain... 

Kind of feeling a bit foggy today.

There's a cold rain falling outside this morning. The dark of night has yet to trade places with the light of day. I can hear rain hitting the awnings outside. It is a slow and gentle rhythm which reminds me of something. I'm not sure what that something is. It flickers somewhere on the edge of my consciousness...it inhabits the other side of me. It was a rough night.

My husband escaped for a while to explore the church we will very likely call home at some point in the future. It's funny how differently we are taking to this Orthodox faith. Jim seems to be making new discoveries outside of himself and is then coming to call them his own. I feel as if it has always been there, a mysterious part of me locked away that is now being revealed to me piece by piece. As each new piece is revealed I savor its flavor, its tenor and recognize it was always there, I had just somehow forgotten. I struggle to understand some of it but because of some great mystery beyond me, I know it. Jim feels as if he's coming home. I think I was always there but I had re-papered the walls. Tearing the wallpaper down to reveal the home's true beauty is scary, painful and healing all that same time.

I digress. It was a rough night. I allowed Ana to watch the "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" last night as it is a rite of childhood, I think. In so doing, I allowed he to stay up 30 minutes past her bedtime. Ana then had a tough time going to sleep. She leapt from bed three times...the last time I simply listened to her scream for 10 minutes before putting her back to bed. As Jim often is says, her personality is bigger than she...so we sometimes have to go to what feels like an extreme in order to regain control. She woke up again around 11:30, frustrating Jim as he was attempting to write.

The kids are both sick and Ana would not stop coughing. I fished out the cough syrup from the medicine basket in the kitchen and doled it out. Ana's eyes were misty and tired. It was easy to see that she felt miserable. After I laid her down following the cough syrup she continued to cry and get out of bed. Eventually, whatever is in the medicine which causes drowsiness took effect and she drifted off. But off and on all night long I heard her coughing.

And now it is morning and still she coughs, joined by David every so often. And there's a cold rain. And I'm tired. Somehow, the rain is sort of a soundtrack for my mood...melancholy yet remindful. I'm not sure that makes sense, but it's where my spirit resides today.

I hope yours is in sunnier climes.

Laura

Monday, October 27, 2003

Before... 

Here's what happened before we made it to church on Sunday...

Yesterday, I told you about our visit to Holy Cross. Please allow me to tell you what it was like getting there. I arose around 6:00 AM so as to have a little time to myself before the marathon began. Jim and I had decided we would leave the house around 9:00 AM in order to have to take the kids over to his parents house and then proceed to the church. I thought if I got up around 6:00, I'd beat the kids to waking up and be able to write a bit so I would have that need fulfilled.

Of course it was time change Sunday, and even though I had kept Ana up until nearly 9:00 the night before, she decided to wake up at 5:30. I bribed her with juice and got her back into bed and collapsed back in bed myself. I did get back up at 6:00 and wrote a short entry about a dream I had that morning. Then the fun began. Ana woke up before 7:00 and refused to go back to sleep. After 16 trips up and down the stairs telling her it wasn't time for her to wake up I decided to just let her lay on the couch until I was finished with "my time." Of course, "my time" was then punctuated with, "Hey Mommy" and cow noises. Finally, I gave up, served the cheerios, went to get David out of bed...

After everyone had eaten breakfast with the usual amount of screaming, etc, I decided it was time to start getting everyone dressed. It was around 7:45 or so...I decided to dress David first as Ana was happily occupying herself with markers on the kitchen table. Big mistake, huge. Just as I was finishing up with David, I heard Ana whining at the bottom of the steps. She wanted to wear her pink bunny slippers. Every girl must have a pair of pink bunny slippers at some point in life...it's in the manual. Anyway, I finished up with David and ran down the stairs to find that Ana had abandoned paper and begun to draw on herself...all over herself. It's now about 8:00 and my husband is still sleeping.

I attempted to clean Ana up and finally resorted to throwing her in the bath tub. The water turned a lovely shade of green. I ran down to the basement where our bedroom is and informed Jim it was now after 8:00 am. Oh, he said and rolled back over. I shrugged and ran back upstairs to try and put a little make up on. I have to wear concealer under my eyes to hide the valleys that motherhood has carved! It's at this point that David realizes he must be held, "RIGHT NOW." He proceeded to scream the entire time I was putting make up on...pulling on my pajama bottoms and coming close to undressing me.

Jim was downstairs trying to figure out why the computer wouldn't publish my latest entry and why my blog page looked completely different. I kept telling him to wait...it was no big deal and we'd fix it later. He kept wanting to figure it out (MB afficionados...I'm the "p" and he's the "j"). I ran back upstairs and proceeded to lift Ana from the tub so she could get dressed. She pretty much protested everything as is her way right now...the tao of the two year old! But, once she saw the "Pooh" overalls, she relented. We put the bunny slippers back on...she was just going to grandma's after all. Sometime in there I comforted David to the point where he stopped crying...I don't remember that part but he did stop screaming so I must've succeeded somehow.

At this point, I'm wondering if the Orthodox have special prayers for harried mothers trying to get their kids and themselves out the door....

Jim finally left the computer to get dressed. So did I. Ana kept saying, "Pretty dress, Mommy," and David kept trying to go up the basement steps as I was getting dressed. One leg in the panty hose, retrieve Dave, two legs in the hose, retrieve Dave, hose up over hips, retrieve Dave...that's how it went and then,

"Oh Crap," Jim said. "What if the iron still doesn't work. It took 40 minutes for it to heat up last time."

"Fire it up and see what happens," I said. Dressed but no shoes.

I went back upstairs to the dark recesses of David's closet where my "dress shoe" collection resides. I pulled out a pair...that looked like the could be black. I was wearing a black belt so it was very important that the shoes be black. However, I was also slightly concerned about the husband wearing a wrinkled shirt to church and was distracted,

"Laura!"

"Yes," I replied.

"Can we leave before 9:00? I'll have to iron my shirt at Mom and Dad's."

"We're all ready to go."

"OK. Crap. I need to eat breakfast. I have to finish getting ready," he said.

"I'll start the eggs for you."

I was nervous about his as Jim likes things "just so" and I knew the eggs wouldn't be "just so." We did make it out the door at about 8:55 but not before I discovered I was actually wearing blue shoes. Blue shoes and black belt will not do. I ran upstairs and found the right shoes...the backs had been chewed by one of our dogs. I hoped the church was rather dim so no one would notice! Off we went to Jim's parent's house...where his Aunt Joan was using the iron. Long story...Aunt Joan is staying there for a while. Jim refused to be rushed...we all remained calm. Eventually the shirt was ironed and we pulled out of the driveway as I watched my son attempt to climb up the sliding board...with no one behind him. I closed my eyes and thought..."It's going to be OK..."

and it was....

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Dream 

I had an interesting dream this morning. I've heard that dreams are leftovers from the day, a message from the subconscious or a message from God. Hmmm....

I had an interesting dream this morning. I know it happened early this morning as I woke up and it was 4:00 AM. Yesterday it would've been 5:00 AM...but thanks to the time change I had a little more time to ponder the whole thing....and then go back to sleep!

I dreamt that I was walking into a school classroom-ish sort of area. I was pretty much just as I am now. I didn't picture myself as being any different at all. There was a woman there who I knew to be the Father's wife of Holy Cross...Frederica Matthewes Green. I'm not really sure why either one of us was there. Mrs. Matthewes-Green did not appear as I had seen her in her picture. She had long straight hair, gray and was closer to my age. But still, I knew it was her.

There were tables in the room, almost like a science lab sort of place. It almost had that feel to it as well. Frederica dropped a note book and I bent down to help her retrieve it. She knelt down as well and said to me, "I understand you have a website."

"Yes," I said, "there should've been a link in the e-mail I sent your husband."

Frederica smiled at me warmly and said, "I'll have to take a look at it."

I remember feeling nervous in the dream and hoping that she didn't take any "looks" at it...I think I actually told her the address and she wrote it down in her notebook.

I don't really know what all of that was about. Although, I have some suspicions. I think a lot of has to do with writing. Frederica is a published author with several books (I think maybe 5) to her credit as well as a regular contributor to Christianity Today. She is also does some commentary for NPR. I would love to somehow be a published author. I don't want to be famous at all. However, to be able to influence people in some way...and perhaps provide a little income for my family as well would be wonderful. I just haven't a clue how to do that or if I'm even "good enough."

I've had a couple of essays published on a website. That is not the same as getting into print. Not at all. I also didn't see any cash. Not a big deal actually. It was awesome to see the byline with my name. I guess it's just something out there in the mist...sort of nebulous. Hasn't taken shape yet and I'm not even sure it's supposed to.

So, I think the dream addresses some insecurities and longings about the whole "writer" thing. So, should anyone with dream interpretation experience want to take a stab at this...go ahead!

Our First Visit to Holy Cross 

He was there...

When I was a little girl, I used to enjoy one church service every year above all the others. It was the candlelight service we held on Christmas Eve. There was just something so incredible about that service and if I close my eyes and try to squeeze myself back into that little girl's body and mind I can almost remember those feelings. First, there was this special man, Jesus, and he was there! We were celebrating his birthday and for some reason, all the people in the church were very happy. Jesus was there...and everything was good.

The air itself seemed to glisten with holiness. The whole family was there...mothers, fathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles...babies squirmed and little children wiggled as their parents shushed and rearranged and explained..."Jesus is here. It's time to be holy." That's not what they said, but that was what they meant. "Jesus is here...Jesus is here." The big stained glass window depicting Jesus seemed to come alive that night more than any other. He was there.

There was always a lot of singing at that service. All the traditional Christmas Hymns, "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Away in a Manger," "O Holy Night." All the hymns talked about Jesus...because...He was there! You could feel him in the air, smell him in the pine scented wreaths, see Him in the faithful's eyes as they greeted each other, "Merry Christmas," hear Him in the music. It almost seemed you could touch Him...Jesus was there.

The most stirring section of the service was its conclusion with the singing of, "Silent Night." The lights were extinguished and each person in attendance who could be trusted to hold a candle was given one to light. They flickered and shimmied as we passed the light from person to person. Once all candles were lit, we began to sing, "Silent Night, Holy Night, All is Calm, All is bright..." I swear to you, the angels were there with us in that sanctuary adding their voices to the chorus. It was Holy, the smell of the candle wax and the light reflected on the faces of the congregants. It was like no other church service. We all knew it. Jesus was there. He was there. We ended the service by singing, "Joy to the World" and carrying the candles out of the church, still lit. "Joy to the World! Light of the world." He's here.

This morning I attended my first ever Orthodox Christian Church Service. We were greeted by several members of the church who helped us ascertain what to "do." Jim originally wanted to follow along in a service book, but, like I eventually decided to just "go with the flow." Everyone was there, the whole family. I saw what I believed to be some grandparents, mothers, fathers, children, infants...there was some shushing and rearranging. Everyone stood...because Jesus was there. You could smell Him in the incense, hear him the music, see him in the faithful's eyes. He was there. There were flickering candles and windows to heaven. The whole family really was there and the angels were rejoicing. It wasn't Christmas Eve, but, He was there. In all my years of attending church, I've never felt Him quite so much.

The people were real and so was Jesus. He was there. And it was good.

And just in case you were wondering...yes...it was a bit spooky!

Laura

Friday, October 24, 2003

Feminism 

It's my choice.

I read a post in someone's journal yesterday. It was essentially a post about feminism and what a "typical" woman may or may not look like. It did not make my day. Yesterday morning, I had to get some X-rays and had to give the receptionist some personal information. "Where do you work?" she asked.

I looked down, "I'm a homemaker." I felt a little ashamed at my choice because of what I'd read that morning. I don't think the receptionist noticed. In fact, she smiled at me. I've been wondering about that instant of shame for almost 24 hours. Why had I let someone who knows nothing about me or my choice affect me so? Maybe because she said a woman like me needed to be "smacked" and also because she wants to shake other woman like me and let us know there are better choices out there. Somewhere in her post she said she respected the choices of other woman. Really?

Let me tell you just a bit about me. I have a master's degree in speech-language pathology. My GPA when I graduated was 3.92. I received one "B" the semester my beloved grandmother died. My favorite classes were the ones involving neurology...how language is created in the brain and then translated into human speech. Want to talk about the spinal and cranial nerves. How about Broca's or Wernicke's area. I can also explain to you about the semi-circular canals and how they help you maintain balance...and how the cochlea turns physical sound into neural synapses which the brain then translates into language. I'm not stupid.

I worked for 7 years. The last two of them part time as my daughter had been born. During that time, I had many many challenging students, clients and patients. I performed my job well. There were several instances where I recognized incorrect diagnoses in students and pointed the other professionals in the correct direction. I enjoyed my job and received many secondary rewards from helping others communicate well. After the birth of my son, I decided to take a break from my career and stay home with my children. I aspired to this. It was something I craved and wanted to do.

Let me de-mystify some of my homemaker ways. I don't watch soap operas or Oprah or Dr. Phil. Frankly, I can't stand them. I do not eat bon bons or gossip on the phone all day or wile away the hours at the mall. The polish on my toenails is chipped and badly in need of repair. I do bake cookies and I'm damn proud of it. I do feel guilty sometimes because if I did work, we could probably afford a bigger house in a better neighborhood and maybe even a second car. I do wonder if my daughter will feel she has to stay home because her mother would disapprove of any other choice. I also remember what it was like to leave her with a friend of mine to go to work. 9 times out of 10, she was screaming, "Moommmy" and I went to work crying. I don't think the woman who wrote that post has ever had that experience. It's one of the pit falls of being a working mom.

I nurtured my babies inside me for 40 weeks. I knew the instant I was pregnant and loved those tiny souls from then on. I treasured every kick, hiccup and belly flop. When they arrived I nursed them. It was painful at first, especially with my daughter. Ana I nursed through a bout of mastitis...I think that may have been worse than labor. It was worth every moment, every suckle, every nuzzle of their cheeks against mine. I decided that I didn't want to turn them over to someone else to take care of. I wanted to be the one pointing and guiding them toward adulthood. My children's future is still nebulous. If I'm lucky enough to have the choice to shape that future, and a husband willing to allow me to do so, why would I want to entrust it to someone who hadn't known and loved my children from conception? I don't. I can get another job. I can step back into my career. I can't get these formative years with my kids back. Once their finished...that's it.

There are woman out there who have made a different choice. I respect them for it. I wonder at how they do it...full time work and full time Mom. It's two jobs. Most of them come home and do the same things I do all day. I worked with these woman. They amaze me. I am in awe of them. I am especially in awe of the single moms out there. I don't know how you survive sometimes. I really don't. I pray for you. If you lived next door, I'd offer to watch your kids for you.

If being a feminist means I believe in the equality of the sexes and that two people who do the same job should get the same respect regardless of gender...I'm all for it. If being a feminist means that my choice...the old fashioned one...is invalid and that I need to be shaken, I want no part of it. I'm tired of explaining myself...I really am.

I am the caretaker of my children's destinies. It's my choice.

That is all....

Thursday, October 23, 2003

A trip to the mall... 

I went to the mall and was reminded of a few old students of mine. And why I was so passionate about my job!

It was pretty cold today so I decided to take the kids to a local mall where they have an indoor playground to blow off some steam before nap time. I need to go to the library...but that can be an adventure since my kids don't understand the concept of appropriate quietness...Anyway...listened to U2 on the way there. Is it possible to play "Where the Streets Have no Name" at a normal volume? For me it isn't... I will meet Bono one day...I swear I will....

While we were playing a little boy came over as my son and I were hanging out. He obviously had some sort of developmental delay...His caretaker kind of hovered over him. I don't think it was his dad...there appeared to be a little field trip going on. I told this man that the little one, Dawson, didn't bother me at all.

"Oh well, he has this nasty habit of pulling hair."

"Believe me...it's no big deal. I have plenty of experience with that." The caretaker kind shook his head and walked off. Dawson continued to play with the fake plant leaves while I, ever the speech-therapist said, "leaf" over and over again. Eventually Dawson walked away...And I was reminded of a kid I used to work with named Tavon...

Tavon was a little boy with Down Syndrome. He was always impeccably dressed and smelled like expensive men's cologne. Tavon's intelligence level was considered to be in the severely and profoundly retarded range. It was my job to help him communicate...which I tried diligently to do. This story has nothing to do with that. At the time I was working with Tavon, I had corkscrew curly hair which reached nearly halfway down my back. Tavon loved my hair. One day, he decided he loved it so much that he was going to grab my hair and not let go. That kid pulled my hair so hard I was sure it was coming right out of my head! Somehow or another we ended up under the table in my room, with me screaming for help...I don't really know how I managed to get out of that one! From then on...Tavon and I worked in his classroom....where there were other people around to rescue me!

That story reminded me of another little one I worked with named Cierra. Cierra came to our little school in the middle of the year...with a bang as she had huge behavior problems. You name it...she tried it...spitting, crawling on the floor, screaming, etc. This little one had been horribly abused and moved not only from home to home but from school to school. The powers that be finally sent her to our school as a last hope. We got a lot of these kids because we tended to "stick it out" with them more than anyone else...a small and caring staff. Unusual in an inner city special ed school. Unfortunately, that school doesn't exist any more due to changes in service delivery and budget cuts...I digress. Cierra tugged at my heart strings quite a bit...well all of the kids did. As I was working with Cierra one day in my office I said, "Let's try that again, Baby."

Cierra looked at me, eyes wide, incredulous...she banged her hand on the table and said, "My name is not Baby...my name is Cierra."

Well OK then...what do you need me for?

Cierra's story reminded me of another little girl I worked with at that school. Strange to speak of two girls when retelling these stories. I think in my entire career I had only 10 or 15 female students. There is a higher ratio of males in special ed...a consequence of that fragile "Y" chromosome...or at least that's what some theorize. At any rate...I thought of Brittany. Brittany in addition to being severely and profoundly retarded also had a pretty severe case of cerebral palsy. The combination of these two things made my job very difficult. I was working on an eye gaze system to help her communicate...essentially...I would hold up two toys and try to get her to look at the one she wanted to "play" with. The idea was that we would eventually move to a clear board placed in front of her with different pictures representing items Brittany wanted or needed. I never progressed beyond the object stage before she moved along to a new schoool...sad in a way. Brittany had a smile like no other. I often wondered what lay on the other side of her huge brown eyes.

Communication is not something to be denied anyone or taken for granted. Let me tell you one more story. This one I learned in Grad school. It is about a woman stuck in intensive care after a car accident. Most days she had tears streaming down her face...no one knew why. When she was finally able to communicate she let the staff know she had a speck of mascara in her eye...

Don't take the ability you now have to communicate with the world for granted. If you can read, comprehend and respond to these words you have been given a great gift. One some will never know and one that can be taken from you in an instant. Remember that the next time congress votes to put a $1500 combined cap on speech/physical therapy benefits through medicare. It could be you, or your parents, or your grandparents or one of your children laying in an ICU in pain and not able to tell anyone...

Just don't take it for granted...

I guess that is why I stayed in the fight, despite having my hair pulled. Despite being thrown up on, kicked, cleaning smeared feces off of bathroom walls...that's enough. I could go on. It was for that one day when Quinn...the kid with severe autism looked up at me and said spontaneously for the first time, "I need a hug."

Just the facts Ma'am 

Here you go...the truth of the matter. At least as much as I'm willing to share publicly...

Ummm....yeah. It's time for the facts. I've attempted to ignore them...but I really can't any more. I am an optimist, so that helps, but here's the truth. I don't feel very good. I've tried not to talk about it because who wants to read 9,003 posts about someone not feeling good. However, the last few entries I've written have been forced out. They're not "me." Well they are "me" trying to pretend I'm not feeling badly. I don't really like to talk about it...but if the point of this journal is to let people know what's going on, then I suppose I should let you know what's going on...

I can't remember the last time I had a totally pain-free day. Some part of me is always hurting somewhere in my knees, hands, feet or back. It used to just be in the morning, but now my feet pretty much bother me all day and my hands are going in that direction as well. I went to a rheumatologist who examined me, took some blood and ordered X-rays. The blood test was to look for markers for Rheumatoid Arthritis/Lyme's Disease. She didn't really tell me what she thought it might be. I looked at the ICD9 numbers myself on the info sheet before I handed it to the receptionist to make my follow up. She indicated Osteo-arthritis. I do hope it is just that. But in the back of my mind I wonder about the fatigue I can't seem to shake lately, the occasional rashes, the waking up hot and sweaty in the middle of the night...When I actually dared venture over to an RA site I saw all of those things listed as possible symptoms.

The whole idea of RA, an autoimmune disease, sounds awful. This may sound crazy but I decided not to read further until I know for sure if it is RA or not. My usual course of action is to completely obsess over something like this and make myself crazy. But really, what's the point? It's also easy to find other causes for the symptoms...I'm a mom and I'm supposed to be tired. Maybe I just have dry skin. Maybe I wear to many clothes and use too many blankets at night time.

It's just hard because the kids are so young and so active and so full of life. I want to be able to do all sorts of things with them...take them for hikes...teach them to throw a football (yes both of them)...maybe even teach them to water ski some day. That all takes physical strength and stamina which seems to be leaving me at a somewhat alarming rate. It just sucks.

I try and fight it. I continue to do a light workout with weights every morning reasoning that if I keep the muscles around the joints strong it will lessen the stress on those joints. I take glucosamine every day which is supposed to help keep the joints limber. I pop up to four advil every 6 hours trying to stay on top of the pain if it gets bad. I keep going for walks every day thinking that staying in decent cardiovascular health isn't going to hurt. I drink lots of black tea knowing that it is loaded with anti-oxidants which are healing...does that mean I can eat more chocolate as well. Hmm...there's always a silver lining somewhere!

But it's always sort of there. What is this and will it get worse? It causes me to have a bit of depression as well. Not crushing lay in bed all day and do nothing kind of depression. Just that little sad puppy that kind of trails behind you all day. It doesn't ruin your day...but it does remind you that things aren't quite right. I return to the doctor on November 13. Hopefully she'll have some answers.

I would like to leave you with this story from yesterday. It has nothing to do with any of the above! As I was playing with the kids, Ana went under the art easel we have set up in a corner of the playroom (also her brother's room) and said, "Look mom. I in a bird house."

Being ever snarky I said, "Oooohh...does it smell bad?"

"Yes," she said as seriously as a two and half year old can be, "It smells like bird poop."

Isn't she fabulous?!

Laura

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Electronic toys 

Seeing the world beyond what it is to what it could become.

I've read several essays lately on the admonishment to live simply. One came from George Carlin. I read it on message board and it was truly breathtaking. The "live simply" message seems to be cropping up every where...and yes I do live fairly simply. I've spoken of that before, that I feel trapped in a time warp here in my tiny 1940's row-home with one car and one income. Not trapped in a bad way, but, just that are lives seem so much different than many around us. It is largely due to the choices we've made. We said "yes" to our kids and "no" to materialism. But that's an essay for another day.

What I started thinking of was this...electronic toys. They are a relatively new invention and many a well meaning aunt/uncle/cousin/friend buys them for the kids in their lives. My kids play with them for a sum total of 5 minutes before they become board. 5 minutes. We do have one kind of neat little activity table thingy that plays music. Ana will hit that one and listen to the different songs...as she's playing with something else like, socks. I've seen my kids play with socks for 30 minutes. That's right, socks, they do more stuff. You push a button on that electronic toy and it does one thing. Socks can "do" lots of things.

I think blocks are some of my favorite toys for kids. We have the alphabet variety which serve the dual purpose of play and learning letters and we also these really cool foam blocks. The foam ones are nice and quiet on our hardwood floors. My kids and I played with the alphabet ones last night after dinner. David just likes to stack them and bang them together. He also likes to knock over my pyramids. Last night, the blocks my daughter played with became, a train, a house, a sailboat and a snowman. I'm sure as she grows older and Ana's imagination expands she will come up with more inventions.

There's much talk these days about the obesity problem in America's kids. It's due in part to electronic devices. My kids are both under the 25th percentile weight wise. They do watch TV...but it's not a babysitter for me. I spend probably 30 to 45 minutes a day reading to them. Yesterday, my daughter turned the playground mulch into a snowman and then into a sandcastle. Ana has never been to the beach, or seen a "real" snowman...but we've read about them. Ana also decided yesterday at the supper table that she was a cow..."I being a Cow...MOOOO." Believe me, I'm not supermom...but I do enjoy my kids and I want them to be able to think. It's about that whole gestalt thing...so they look at an object and see not the object but the possibilities.

My Mom wasn't supermom either. But she did make sure I played outside quite a bit. She didn't worry about how dirty we became...many a time we were hosed down in the back yard before being allowed inside. I know, "times were different." It doesn't take much to pay attention to your kids outside and make sure they're safe...a little effort...a little more sacrifice. We had plenty of alphabet blocks in our home as well...and leggos and chalk boards and paint brushes and playdough and....home made cookies we decorated for every conceivable holiday. I'm trying to do the same with my kids.

I'm glad my Mom didn't park me in front of the TV and ignore me. She worked part time...I remember that. But I also do remember spending time with her...I have especially warm memories of sitting in the crook of her arm on the big green couch, covered by an afghan, with our cat "Muffin" sharing our laps and reading...The Snowy Day, The Cat in the Hat...you get the picture. I don't remember not knowing how to read. I remember Mom watching me draw pictures on the chalk board and giving me leftover cookie dough to play with and not being angry when I came in the house covered in leftover mud pie. Thanks Mom.

I look at the world and see possibilities. I look at 40 pound bag of flour at price club and don't think "flour." I think, pancakes, cookies, muffins, brownies, cake, the breading for "real" (if unhealthy) fried chicken, play dough...etc, etc. And I can save money and stay home with my kids because I see those possibilities. I can raise my babes to look at the world and see the possibilities and not the dead ends. They'll be creating the buttons that other kids will push some day.

And most importantly, when they gaze at the sky, they won't just see clouds, sun, moon...they'll see heaven.

Laura

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

It was Spooky alright... 

We made our first visit with Fr Gregory at the Little Stone Church...

My husband wrote much more about our visit to the spooky church. You can read about that
here. My husband is very much the thinker in the relationship. So if you want the specifics of what we talked about, I'd suggest reading his stuff. I'm more the emotional story teller type. I can't help it...that's just how I am...I'll try and set the mood for you as much as I can...

We pulled up along side the church at just about 7:00. Someone was heading in who we assumed was Father Gregory, but ended up being one of the parishoners who was there to clean the church. We walked in and were greeted first by the parishoner and then by Fr Gregory who came out of a little room to the left of the altar. The church had a high ceiling...sort of in that upside down boat tradition which I'm sure has a technical name but is now lost on me! It was also filled with pictures and candles and sparkly things. There were no pews, but hardwood floors covered in "oriental" rugs along with a few chairs on either side of the sanctuary. The effect was stunningly holy. I felt as if I were quiet enough I might hear the angels flapping their wings, or perhaps even feel the wind from their flight caress my face. There was the smell of incense hanging in the air.

Fr Gregory explained the meaning of all of the pictures, etc., which were actually "icons." Honestly, I remember none of the explanations. It was all a bit overwhelming. I just remember thinking...WOW the entire time and even being moved to tears a few times. It was also interesting to note that the front of the sanctuary actually had doors leading into the altar area where the bread and wine would rest until served. It rather reminded me of the descriptions of old Jewish Temples which had a curtain behind which was the Holy of Holies...maybe that was THE temple as in the one Solomon built. I've never claimed to be a Biblical Scholar. All in all I felt very safe there and in awe and yes a little spooked. The icons/pictures were depictions of Jesus and the various saints within the Orthodox faith. It appears it is much easier to become an Orthodox saint than a Catholic one...but honestly I've no idea. All I know is that he showed us saints who had been alive as recently as the 20th century.

Part of our evening consisted of the Father telling us the history of the actual church building. It was built in 1911 by the United Methodists. Yeah...that one spooked me quite a bit. God is so weird...uh...mysterious. It would be easy to chalk it all up to coincidence...but I don't believe in that anymore. We went downstairs to talk a bit more about our faith journey and how we ended up investigating Orthodoxy. We talked about next steps and what church services would be like. I found out that kids are involved in the ceremony from the beginning. I seem to recall a rant somewhere about that...me thinking kids should be with their parents actively involved in the faith as a family. Jim was of course concerned about the whole thing. Me, being the go with the flow type, figured we'd work it out as we went along.

I learned a little something else about the icons. The Orthodox consider them windows into heaven...reminders of who they'll be visiting with once they experience the paper tiger called death. You see, the Orthodox believe that if Jesus truly conquered death, then even those who are "dead" are still part of Christ's church...because they aren't really dead. It's still hard for me to wrap my head around that. It's kind of spooky. I think it also requires a different thought pattern...a more Eastern minded one. Even though I'm coming closer to that idea...it still is somewhat foreign. But on many levels, it makes the truth of Christ even more fantastic and wonderful than ever before. So icons are windows into heaven. I also seem to remember ranting about the type of evangelizing some folks engage in where they try to scare people out of hell. Most people alive today have experienced "hell" already. I think we should be about the business of loving people into heaven. So, having "windows to heaven" around seems like an awfully good idea to me. I did wake up a couple of times last night with a sort of "huh" feeling about the whole thing. But I simply prayed, "You know God, I've trusted you this far. Here is where you seem to want us. If it isn't...I trust you'll lead us out of it." I went right back to sleep. Hmmm....

We're likely going to attend our first service there on Sunday. I'm looking forward to it.

Spookily yours,
Laura

Monday, October 20, 2003

It's getting spooky!...(part the second) 

Written while the kiddos were napping...sort of spell checked and grammar corrected. But is just an online journal after all....Be sure to read the first part if yet you haven't

The church I mentioned in the "I Wish Church Was Spooky" article was a little stone church in Danville, VA. Its name was Trinity United Methodist Church and it resided on Arnette Boulevard. I still become a bit misty eyed when I think of that church. I vividly remember walking along the stone wall which ran adjacent to that church...first with my hand in one of my parent's and later on my own and still later I held the hands of other little ones as they traversed that wall. So many, many good things happened to me there...Youth Group, the trips to Mountain T.O.P. (many of those tales are contained herein somewhere!--check the eternal instants category). I am forever grateful for my years at that little stone church.

Let's fast-forward to the present...Part of the turning of the rudder for my husband and I was a commitment to finding the community church we could become involved in. Often our prayers included, "Do we stay in our present church or move on. God show us the answer...." We so wanted to become involved in a church, but the one we attended at the time was a 30 minute drive away...and with two small children and one car it seemed nearly impossible. Sometime around the beginning of August we made the decision to walk away from that church and begin seeking God's will for us elsewhere. Our present scenario just wasn't working for us...

Since March or so, I had been participating in an online discussion forum where the aforementioned, Fr Dcn Raphael (FDR), a member of the Orthodox faith was also a participant. I believe that after reading the "spooky" article, he sensed in me a desire for legitimacy...for real authenticity. I had left the Methodist Church looking for authenticity and been fooled for a while into thinking I'd found it in "Contemporary Worship." FDR asked if he could post my "spooky" article on his discussion board which was made up of many orthodox and invited me to join in. I lurked their quite a bit and may have even posted once or twice...but it was all a bit overwhelming. There is a point to all of this...when Jim and I decided to leave our former church, FDR recommended a book to us, Becoming Orthodox by Peter Gillquist. We began reading this book...and then asked FDR if he knew of a Church nearby where we could become involved should we decide Orthodoxy was where we were legitimately headed. The answer was Holy Cross. A church that was perhaps two miles from our home. One that since we had moved to this area, I had stared at and wondered about with a sort of longing I can't explain even now. But there it was.

I found the church's website yesterday and perused it fairly heavily. I also found a link to the Father's wife's website, Frederica Matthewes-Green. I read an incredibly long essay of Mrs. Matthewes-Green's and sent Jim a portion of it which stood out for me. Here is said portion:


How does a doctrine of cultural adaptation impede our knowledge of Him?

By not going deep enough, and halting at the superficial level of culture rather. By failing to touch the transcultural, transhistorical, and ultimately cosmic reality at the source. By failing to know Christ Himself.


After reading the quote Jim excitedly exclaimed, "Honey, did you see the irony at the end of that quote?"

"Um...huh...no," I replied.

"She said, 'going deep.' The title of your journal entry that turned into an article was "Going Deeper"

Spooky. OK...so this morning as I was writing the first part of this essay, journal entry, manifesto...whatever you choose to call it...I again perused Mrs. Matthewes-Green's site. I decided to look at her family album page because I always love family pictures. Of course...she mentioned her church. She called it a "small stone church." Spooked yet...Because I am. I'm going there this evening along with my husband to meet Father Gregory Matthewes-Green. My husband e-mailed him this morning...we're in there tonight.

I can honestly say...that even though it seemed at times that the rudder had no direction, it did. From one little stone church to another...I now feel as if I am going home...throughout all those twists and turns...all my rantings about "let's just forget the institutional church altogether" God was there with his hand firmly guiding us...where it now seems we were meant to go..

More spookiness will ensue I'm sure...I'll keep you updated!

Laura

It's Getting Spooky...(part the first) 

Essay writing on the fly. Here's what it's like to write and be a Mom. This is part one of an essay I'm working on which is a sort of sequel to an essay I wrote a while back. It's not finished as yet...it has really only begun to take shape. My kids have risen from bed and so I must stop writing and be a mom. I may continue to work on this essay as they nap this afternoon...or not. Here's how it happens folks...real life...talk about "authentic! It hasn't been "spell checked or reviewed for grammar errors either!


Many moons ago, or so it seems, I wrote an essay called, I Wish Church Was Spooky. This essay encompassed my thoughts on the Post-Modern Church I experienced every Sunday and the longing I had for something different, set apart from my every day life. I wanted church to be special, not another trip to the mall, which is what it felt like for me many a Sunday. At the time the essay was written, my husband and I were still in what we now refer to as our, "old marriage." The one where we were strangers in the night. The one which almost fell apart. Obviously, God had other plans because...here we are, still married, and though some of the "newlyweddedness" we were re-experiencing has begun to wear off, we continue to be in a much better place spiritually and emotionally with each other.

I could say the rudder had been turned toward Orthodoxy at that point in our marriage. But, I can also look back and see little hints that may have started ship moving earlier...even before we were married. Sometime around the fall of 1997 when we were dating or engaged or whatever it was we were Jim and I viewed a movie called, "Shine." It is the true story of a pianist named David Helfgott (I need to check the spelling on that one). We both adored the movie as Jim is a musician and I appreciated the redemptive message of the story. One of the lines repeated by David towards the end of the movie is, "It's a mystery, a mystery." If I have heard that phrase from my dear online buddy, Fr. Deacon Raphael, I have heard it 1,000 times..."O Great Mystery." Coincidence...maybe. Perhaps I just read too much into ordinary occurrences of life. Or, perhaps I choose to believe that God, The Mystery Man, as someone on a discussion board I frequent calls Him, was putting a little idea in our minds early on. Sort of the first swipe of teak oil placed on the rudder to begin preparing us to turn in an altogether different direction. I know it's not huge, but it is something I've thought of as we've lived this bumpy sail-boat ride these last five months.

And then there's a little word called, "authentic." "Authentic" is the buzzword for Post-Modernism. Everything must be "authentic" without the least bit of artifice about it. But for me, it begs a question...Why are there so many books about being "authentic." If it's really authentic, then why do we need a book? It should happen naturally. The churches I attended in my twenties were striving towards authenticity. But towards the end of my experience with them I walked around feeling as if everyone was wearing the "Authentic Christian" mask. Fast forward to the beginning of our marital sail towards Orthodoxy. Following is a quote from my husband's latest entry in his blog, Life's Cocktails.


I've mentioned many times that Laura and I made a commitment when we started this journey, and that was/is that if we found that the early Church practiced or believed something universally, everywhere, then we would accept it as our own.


It would follow that the early Church practices would be the most "authentic" in all of Christendom wouldn't it. If the actual apostles themselves did church "this way," then shouldn't we. So that wonderful, popular little word also pointed us, without us even really knowing it, towards what we are beginning to accept as the true Church. It gets spookier....

Experiment 

ntestinal Fortitude...thy name is Mom...

Jim and I had a long talk last night...about lots of things. But one of the things we talked about was my inability to write when the inspiration hits me. I have to "save" it up until the kids are asleep...either during their nap time or early in the morning. So at some point, he mused, they need to learn to lay off me so that I can write when it's fresh. The entries I've "saved up" never seem to have the spirit behind them that I want them too.

Also, I have this book thing going on...and how am I ever going to write a book in those short spurts. I suppose it can be done but it will take forever. I fear that by the time I get to it...all the fire will be gone. Does that make sense? So anyway, the kid are upstairs right now playing by themselves. I just finished about a half hour reading session with them. Everything is baby proofed...the bathroom is barricaded and it's a tiny house so I can monitor them audibly even without the baby monitor. It's a little weird.

David's crying. I'l give him a few moments before I check on him...this is sort of one of those dry runs. I'm not writing anything important...I'm just seeing if this has any chance of working! Thanks for indulging me.....

David has cried for 5 minutes straight. And now Ana is calling for me. So I suppose the experiment failed as far as length is concerned. Frankly...I can't take it any more. Perhaps it will last longer next time...

Oh wait...it stopped...the crying and the calling. Now there is laughter. Could it be true!!! Nope...David's screaming again...he stopped.

Enough of a blow by blow...at least I'm trying!

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Amazing Grace 

A little piece of stunning information...

I thought I'd share a bit of interesting trivia for your Sunday morning. On Saturday evenings, my husband likes to watch the "Bill and Gloria Gaither Gospel Hour." He grew up watching these guys and I think it's one of those, "warm fuzzy" activities for him. It's not my favorite television program, but Jim puts up with me when I watch, "Trading Spaces," so it's just one of those marital trade-offs I suppose! Anyway, the Gaithers travel all over the place with a troupe of regular and guest performers singing gospel music. Last night's episode was recorded in NYC about a year after 9/11. It was a bit on the emotional side.

One of the last guests to perform was a man named James or John Wynton. I'm not sure I have his name correct. He is a very tall, completely bald black man who runs a ministry for the children of prison inmates. Apparently, the focus of the ministry is to help the kids get through school as these are often some of life's forgotten kids. This man is one of those people you look at and immediately want to hug despite his large imposing presence. He just has that "way" about him. Mr. Wynton was recounting the tale of an older black woman he'd met. He spoke of the wisdom we had forgotten that she imparted to him. A piece of that wisdom went something like this, "She said to me, 'Son, if the mountain was smooth, you wouldn't be able to climb it.' You think about that for a moment!"

Mr. Wynton also shared her knowledge of Negro Spirituals. This woman, whose name I do not know, informed him that nearly all negro spirituals can be played on the black notes of the piano. Two very familiar spirituals were then played..."Every Time I Feel the Spirit" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." Completely on the "black notes" of the piano. Mr. Wynton informed us that this was because the native Africans did not share our, "do re mi...." scale. "That's some other man's scale," he said. The ancient African scale contained the 5 "black notes" on the piano and came to be known as "The Slave Scale. John then told the tale of John Newton. John Newton wrote the words to "Amazing Grace," a very much loved white spiritual. Mr. Newton used to be the captain of slave ship. The tune for Amazing Grace can be played, "on the black notes." Apparently, the melody for "Amazing Grace" is very much like an ancient West African Sorrow Chant. Anywhere the authorship is accurately noted for "Amazing Grace," it lists the words as, "by John Newton," but the melody as, "Unknown." A mystery. Mr. Wynton said that he wants to someday meet that slave named "Unknown."

It was a "Wow" moment for me. I don't know about you as I really haven't recounted it all that well. Mr. Wynton was thrilled by this knowledge as he saw it a symbol of the unification of God's people. He then went on to sing the song in an incredible voice. I don't think the man needed a mic...the power and emotion behind his voice filled the Met. Usually, the Gaither ensemble joins in the singing. But not this time. It seemed a sacred moment.

There's a man on one of the websites I visit who calls God, "The Mystery Man." Some would see this as maybe being a bit on the irreverent side. But more and more, I'm inclined to agree...

Saturday, October 18, 2003

This always happens to me! 

Yes it does. I swear it does really!

Yesterday evening I was running through my after dinner routine. Part of this includes cleaning out my daughter's little practice potty which stays downstairs. I like to throw a little comet in it and then wipe it out so as to cut down on overall smelliness of the whole thing. This is not a task I enjoy...So, as I'm placing the comet back on the top shelf in the bathroom closet, I somehow manage to clip the shelf on the way up with it...thereby spilling comet all over myself, into my eyes and all over the floor. I'm pretty sure I inhaled the comet as well. It was the lousy ending of a lousy afternoon.

I had been in bitch mom mode most of the afternoon. My kids sometimes just really get to me. I hate that...but they do. My daughter wants me to read to her and my son is crawling all over me at the same time for attention. Most days I manage it well...but sometimes I do not and I turn into Cruella DeVille. I just wanted yesterday to end...and I extended its mundane duties with my air-headed flakiness as I had to clean up the lovely mess. To add insult to injury, I've pretty much felt like crap all day. I woke up with stomach cramps and have had a sore throat all day. I suppose inhaling comet really isn't all that good for you!

But this is not an uncommon occurrence in my life. I am a bit of a space cadet. I'm usually thinking of 23 things at the same time. However, this strange "it always happens to me" phenomena is not always a bad thing. When I was 12 or so my mom prepared green peas for supper. I hate green peas. I don't like the way they squish in my mouth. On the fateful day in question, I tried to pour salt on the detestable peas and the top of salt shaker came off spilling salt all over my them. I looked at my Mom and said, "I swear I didn't do that on purpose." I really didn't. I'm telling you this stuff always happens to me. My mom, knowing I wouldn't try and get out of eating my dinner, little goody goody that I was, absolved me of all guilt and I never had to eat those peas again either. Ha!

So I guess bad Karma can have it's advantages...

Speaking of bad Karma...I made Italian Sausage for supper. I wasn't sure really what to do with it. I served it with mashed potatoes...which seems a strange blend of Italian and Irish cuisine. We'll call it "nouveau" and then it will be chic. I've never cooked this kind of sausage before so I kept cutting it open to see if it was "done" in the middle. It always looked a tad pink. I showed it to my husband who poked it and said, "seems alright to me." I'm waiting for the E Coli to kick in any minute because...it always happens to me!

But there is good stuff that makes a momma smile going on here as well. My daughter is now liking "reading" her favorite books. Ok, what she's really doing is reciting the stories she's heard me read a thousand times. But the way Ana attempts the voices and animal noises I make which accompany each dramatic presentation is adorable. Ana loves books...she sleeps with them. Like Momma like daughter...is it a blessing or a curse?

My son David, 14 months, has a healthy appetite. He ate all of his sausage tonight, finished his older brother's (who after taking three bites and saying how much he "loved" sausage realized it had "green things" and refused to eat any more) and then proceeded to eat his sister's serving..Ana is just not a meat eater. I hope we can afford to feed David when he's a teenager!

I'd better go before disaster befalls. It's just a little too quiet around here. You know...something's going to happen...it always does to me...

Parenting Books 

These books sometimes do more harm than good!

I'm not sure they're altogether a "good thing." I appreciate that they help some people. They've even helped me in the past, at least given me some ideas of where to go next. Yesterday afternoon, I was ready to locate every single one of them and blow them up. Here's why...

I have a friend in the neighborhood. She's a new friend. We've been hanging out for about 6 weeks maybe. This girl, I'll call her Jane has three boys aged two, three and a half and five. Yes, a handful! She's also only 25 years old and was married at age 20 when she was 6 months pregnant with her oldest. Her husband is the same age as she. Jane originally wanted to give up her baby for adoption, but was convinced by many in her church that this would be a selfish thing to do. I'm still trying to figure out the logic of that one! Jane often says she is selfish...She has a lot of guilt and wants to live the "right way." Jane attends a charismatic church. I have nothing against charismatics by the way...it's just a statement of fact.

When Jane and I walk to the playground she often mentions that she reads "parenting books." I think all of them are authored by Christians, which is neither here nor there, it's just one of her criteria for picking books. She's always reading at least one parenting book and one relationship book. She likes to talk about how she handles different situations with her kids. I'm sure to her, I look like some sort of hippie parent or something. She's even said to me, "You seem very much like the go with the flow type." Yes...and maybe sometimes I err a little too much on that side. Jane strives to be the best mom she can be, and I do admire that...but...

I went to Jane's house yesterday to lend her something. For some odd reason I felt compelled to leave my house and walk down to hers. So, I asked hubby if he was OK with me leaving the kids with him for a minute while I did so...and off I went. I'll confess it was originally for what I thought was a selfish reason. The kids were making me nuts and I needed to get out of there. I walked up to Jane's house and knocked on the door. They were eating supper, the door was unlocked and so I poked my head in and called Jane's name...

"What," was her reply.

"It's just me...I'm bringing you the stuff," I said.

"Oh, my kids are driving me crazy and so I'm giving them dinner and putting them to bed."

"OK," I replied.

She then told me the tale of the afternoon. Nothing had gone right and everything had gone wrong. The kids were being monsters. Jane's husband had offered to come home and cook dinner but he was late and she was tired and sick. She'd had it. The kids finished up and Jane told them, "You can play in the toyroom for a few moments and then you're going to bed." What happened next was her two youngest children began to fight over one of those freaking awful musical books. Jane said, "That's it! Go to your room and go to BED!" She then deposited both of them in their rooms, came down the stairs, plopped on the bench in front of the kitchen table and burst into tears, "I'm such a horrible mother."

That's it...that's the problem I have with those damn books.

"Why," I asked.

"I'm so mean to them," she said.

"Mean?" I said. "They're driving you nuts. You're about to wail on them. So you put them in a safe place and left so you could calm down. That's not mean. That's loving. That's recognizing that if you don't change the situation at hand, disaster will ensue. What could've happened is much worse than what did. Everyone has days like this. It doesn't make you mean, it makes you human."

We talked for a few more minutes. I told her she needed to take a break from the books. I offered to loan her a Eugenia Price novel I have so she could have some time to escape. Eugenia was a Christian so I thought that might help her to accept reading the book. Jane is going away this weekend on a retreat with her church which should do her some good. She needs to get away from her family for a while. Jane takes way too much of it on her shoulders and tries too hard to do it all right. It's impossible to do it all right.

And those damn books. They preach at you (I've read some of them) and give you the steps to follow to raise perfect kids. I'm sure they worked beautifully for the author's children, but they can't work in every situation. Every kid is different. What works with one doesn't necessarily work with the next. I let myself get caught up in those books right after Ana was born. I became depressed because I did what they said to and my daughter was still a screaming, crying mess. When I through them out the window...and leaned on my own common sense and the answers revealed to me through prayer, it became much easier. The depression lifted. I was becoming "MY kid's mom" without needing someone else's ideas. Yes, I still check those books from time to time for ideas. I take what I think will work and throw out the rest.

But they ain't the gospel. And in my friend's case...they've done more harm than good. There's more to Jane's story than just a heavy reliance on parenting books. I'm sure God put us in each other's lives for a reason. Even if it was only for me to be there to hug her yesterday....but I hope a little of my "go with the flow" attitude rubs off on her. Life is just more fun when you relax a bit...and don't worry about how some stuffed shirt tells you to live your life.

I'll say this as well...the woman I spoke of yesterday who answered my husband's question about Orthodoxy also remarked that the Evangelical Protestant church nearly killed her. I hope it doesn't kill Jane. It's hard to see someone's spirit crushed in front of you....

Thursday, October 16, 2003

More on Orthodoxy 

Love, love and more love...and heaven...and Metallica

More quotes from the Kallistos book and then some other stuff I learned...


The bodies of our fellow human beings must be treated with more care than our won. Christian love teaches us to give our bretheren not only spiritual gifts, but material gifts as well. Even our last shirt, our last piece of bread must be given to them. Personal almsgiving and the most wide-ranging social work are equally justifiable and necessary.

The way to God lies through love of other people, and there is no other way. At the Last Judgement I shall not be asked if I was successful in my ascetic exercises or how many prostrations I made in the course of my prayers. I shall be asked, did I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoners: that is all I shall be asked.
Mother Maria of Paris


Wow...I've got some work to do then for sure! And one more:


Love is the kingdom which the Lord mystically promised to the disciples, when he said that they would eat in his kingdom: "you shall eat and drink at my table in my kingdom" (Luke 22:30). What should they eat and drink, if not love?

When we have reached love, we have reached God and our journey is complete. We have crossed over the the island which likes beyond the world, where are the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit: to whom be the glory and dominion. May God make us worthy to fear and to love him. Amen.
St Isaac the Syrian


There is a lot about love in this Orthodox Way book. It seems to be a theme throughout the entire text. Which only makes sense as Jesus summed up the ten commandments with two...you know what they are, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and Love your neighbor as yourself." It seems the essence of the ministry of Christ can pretty much be determined to be love. Well I'm OK with that. I like to love people. I just never feel that my love is deep or real enough. I stroke my kid's fuzzy heads at night and wonder, "did I love you enough today?" I pass the street ladies and wonder, "Do I just drive by." I see the homeless, the old, infirm and obviously mentally ill and wonder, "Do I really want to ignore these people...walk by and forget about them." I've never visited a prison...never can say I've clothed the naked. It seems you could spend your entire life trying to love and never get it quite right...or have it be enough. But luckily, it doesn't have to be because Christianity also isn't about works. It's about faith that someone else has fought the battle, won and now what do I do with it? I spread the news...through love alone? That is my greatest question...the one that haunts me at 2:00 AM...is love enough? I guess sometimes it has to be...It's a mystery, a mystery....

Something else I learned about Orthodoxy came from a discussion my husband started at theooze.com. He asked about Mary and about heaven. It seems the Orthodox believe that since Christ conquered sin and death that there is no real division between "living" and "dead" saints. So, Orthodox will beseech those already in Heaven to pray for them...not pray to them...ask them to pray for them. It is likened to calling a friend and asking them to pray for you. It's seen as no different. This is very comforting to me...I like the whole idea. I like the fact that family members who've gone before me have some idea of what's happening in my life and can pray for me. It's like a direct line straight to heaven. Evangelicals have this idea that no one in heaven has any idea what's going on down here. That seems rather cold and distant and also completely out of line with the whole "love" theme. Love doesn't end at death...it continues. I like that...I like that a lot.

I'm still a babe in all of this. There's much more I need to find out. But, it just feels more and more like an old fuzzy blanket one would wrap themselves into....ahhh. I also had this fear that in becoming Orthodox I'd have to give up some of the freer sides of my personality such as my love for loud obnoxious music, etc, etc. But the woman who answered Jim's question actually listed Metallica on her bio as one of her favorite bands. Rock on!

And...while we're at it. On the creedpit, there have been two discussion lately about Christian music. Here's what I think...you can't "save" music...it can't be Christian. Some music espouses more "Christ-like" ideals and some doesn't. More often than not...I think those spiritual lines are a bit blurry, which makes people in both camps a little uncomfortable. They all just need to get over it!

Laura

The Letting go... 

Does it ever really end?

I took the kids to the park this morning, as I pretty much always do. Something happened today which doesn't always happen. David, my son, has begun walking. These last three days as we have gone to the park, all he has wanted to do is walk...up and down the sidewalk. I walk along beside David and sometimes I'll run a few steps ahead of him and kneel down so that he can tumble into my arms, the grin on his face outshining the morning sun. Many times, he'll stumble and fall, and I'll be there to pick him up. That's part of my job description. I take his hand in mine and lift him up, back to walking position. Once he's in motion, I force his fingers from around my hand and send him on his way.

Today, David let go of me. I didn't have to let go of him. And in so doing, David steered himself down a different path, one heretofore we had not traveled, giggling, astonished at his new adventure. I walked behind him this time. I let go and observed. I didn't jump in front of David, or attempt to steer him in any direction. He let go and so did I. And so it continues...

My heart grew three sizes in that instant.

I could elaborate...but I'll leave it there...

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

The Trinity 

Is God really an ice cube?

I'm really tired today. So I'm going to post some quotes from the Kallistos Ware book and perhaps talk about them a bit. I'm still in the chapter about the trinity. It's slow going and I have to read each paragraph several times to fully understand sometimes...

Our reasoning powers are a gift from God, and we must use them to the full; but we should recognize their limitations.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. That is my favorite one. It somehow validates the whole notion of faith to me. There just isn't an explanation for everything. I wish there was, but there's not. That is what, in my opinion, keeps us seeking after a higher power. The space between the knowing and the unknowing is where faith lies. I feel like I should be smoking something mind altering right now....

Ok...here's a deep one:

The second person of the Trinity is the Son of God, his "Word" or Logos. To speak in this way of God as Son and Father is at once to imply a movement of mutual love, such as we indicated earlier. It is to imply that from all eternity God himself as Son, in filial obedience and love renders back to God the Father the being which the Father by paternal self-giving eternally generates in him. It is in and though the Son that the Father is revealed to us: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no one comes to the Father, except through me" (John 14:6). He is who was born on earth as man, from the Virgin Mary in the city of Bethlehem. But as Word or Logos of God he is also at work before the Incarnation. He is the principle of order and purpose that permeates all things, drawing them to unity in God and so making the universe into a "cosmos", a harmonious and integrated whole. The Creator-Logos has imparted to each created thing its own to be distinctively itself, and which at the same time draws and directs that thing towards God. Our human task as craftsmen or manufacturers is to discern this logos dwelling each thing and to render it manifest; we seek not to dominate but to cooperate.

I probably lost a lot of people with that one. Sorry. If you're still here you are some kind of faithful reader whom I'm not sure really exists at this point. But, wow. The part I bolded...isn't that a big part of living the life as Christian is supposed to be about. Celebrating the uniqueness of each person...drawing it out...and pointing each toward God and praising Him for that uniqueness...And the model for that is the trinity? It's almost, after quite a long time of walking with God...beginning to gel in my mind.

And finally:

The third person is the Holy Spirit, the "wind" or "breath" of God. While appreciating the inadequacy of neat classifications, we may say that the Spirit of God is within us, the Son of God is with us, and the Father, God above or beyond us. Just as the son shows us the Father, so it is the Spirit who shows us the Son, making him persent to us. Yet the relation is mutual. The Spirit makes the Son present to us, but it is the Son who sends the Spirit.

Honestly, that is a definition I could've used a long time ago. It makes sense. It's mystical and magical...not cut and dried. Not the stupid ice cube definition of the trinity. I HATE that one. You can't reduce God to an ice cube in my world. At any rate, I think somewhere in the Gillquist book my husband and I are reading together he says that the Orthodox Church is the "best kept secret" in America today. I'm becoming inclined to agree with that!

Good day to you all...and may the Breath of God blow gently on you today....

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Here's what's up! 

Jim has his own webpage, David walks...and some other stuff...

Many exciting happenings over here lately! My husband now has his very own website: http://www.lifescocktails.us. He's worked very hard on it and is quite proud. As well he should be...he's actually taken the time to learn html, unlike yours truly. He was also able to re-publish and incredible piece of work he wrote several months ago called "Roots." It is long and not exactly light reading, but if you happen to be suffering from PTFED (Post Traumatic Fundamentalist Evangelical Disease) I highly recommend you take a look. I also see that he has put Ana and David's birthday movies. Jim worked a lot on those as well so I'm glad he now has a forum for them....stop on by!


~~~~~~~~~~


In other exciting news....the moment finally happened! My son, David, took more than three steps without holding onto something. We made our daily trek to the playground yesterday and I decided today was "the day." I plopped David down and said, "Come on buddy, I know you can do it." The first several times I let go of his hands, he plopped down on his behind into scoot position again. But after that he actually tried to walk...and he did...a lot. It was a breathless moment...when he took those first few steps. You've had those...where it doesn't even seem the air is moving. There happened to be a gentleman on his back porch watching us who began clapping as David took those steps. After that...all he wanted to do was walk. It's hysterical to see...he throws both of his arms up into the air. It reminds me of a scene from ET for some reason. I just remember ET walking between two objects and exploring a new item...becoming excited about what he saw and having both hands raised above his head. It was just the coolest! And now my son is an alien in this new height level world...exploring. Mama's going to need faster shoes now with two walking children! David is still apt to cruise or scoot in the house, but we are encouraging him to walk. Jim was mightily pleased. He was worried something was "up" with David not walking.

While all this was happening (at the playground) Ana and I played chase. It was pretty easy because she still wants to get caught. Don't we all still want to "get caught?" I know I do. She'd run away from me, I'd start toward her and then she'd stop until I caught her. I usually tickled her...Ana has a great laugh. She's not yet worried about what others think of it. At some point, I'm going to record it and put it here...


~~~~~~~~~~


The bad news us that someone actually destroyed one of the baby swings. These are reinforced rubber swings...reinforced with steal that is. I just don't understand...they had to have consciously thought, "I'm going to get my hacksaw and bring it to the playground so I can ruin that swing." Why? It was a baby swing...if someone doesn't realize the damage before they put their baby into the swing it could easily fall out and be hurt badly. It makes no sense....meanness to little kids who have never done anything to you. Is there really that much badness out there? Are people so dead inside they want to hurt someone they've never seen or touched? I know, I know, yesterday I said I believed that everyone has some good in them. I still believe that...but what makes them reach for the bad instead of the good...What drives the choice to do something wrong instead of to do something right? Lack of good parenting? Being stepped on yourself so many times (But you'd think they wouldn't want to share this feeling)? I don't know, I suppose it's a mystery. It was one of those moments when I was ready to give up on all of mankind...gather all my friends and family around me...pool our resources by our own island and shut the rest of the world out.

Ever have a moment like that? I hate those moments because, as I said, I am most often an optimist. I don't like to think badly about anyone. But every now and then, I look around and think..."What the hell happened?" We are far, far away from Eden...yet so close to heaven's door. Life just makes no sense.


~~~~~~~~~~


Yesterday, my friend Serratia, who reads this on LiveJournal, commented that she doesn't like the Little River Band either. So, I promise...no more LRB. Just for her...'cause she's a really cool lady. And what's strange about this whole internet revolution is that I've never even met her. Yet I call her my friend...

I was going to put James Taylor's, "Walking Man" here today in honor of David's first steps...but if Serratia doesn't like LRB...heaven knows what she thinks of JT! So I'll spare her...and whoever else happens by here...


~~~~~~~~~~


I'd like to leave you today with a quote from the Kallistos book. I'm in the chapter which is talking about the Trinity...Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I don't understand the whole Trinity concept...I never have. So I'm interested to see how Kallistos explains it. Somehow, I imagine it will remain a mystery!


The purer the heart becomes, the larger it becomes.




ST John of Kronstadt


Short and sweet...I like it. Have a good one,
Laura

Monday, October 13, 2003

This and That 

A new look for this place, blogging, music and Pamela Anderson...PAMELA ANDERSON...what's she doing here?


I have my husband to thank for the new layout of this place. I just asked if we could make my entries show up on the home page rather than clicking a link. There's been a lot of people through here lately and I thought I'd make it easier on you all...But he went and cleaned up the "Nav Bar" which is, I believe, that thingy on the left hand side of the screen., my computer literacy skills being somewhat lacking...He also added some interesting things. It's now possible to view how many people have actually been here. That's a little frightening...It looks OK right now...but who knows. It may start to slack off!

I actually have been considering throwing the whole blog thing out the window lately. I wasn't sure it was doing anyone any good except me. I've kept a journal off and on for years because I just don't want to waste my life...I need to look at it and make sure it's going in the right direction...if that makes sense. Making it all public is a brand new thing for me. It does certainly inspire me to write more...that I'm writing for someone else and not just me. But, it didn't really seem to be bearing any fruit anywhere...not really. And so I was actually thinking of stopping and going back to a private journal. Until, someone read one of my journal entries that was published as an article on a web-page. She e-mailed me from and said that she had really appreciated it. And so I sent her the conclusion to the series, which she also said she enjoyed...and then she clicked on a link I had left in a discussion thread which brought up another of my entries and apparently this one touched her as well. I've said if it means something to one person, then it is worth it. Because I don't know how many lives this one person may touch and how something I said may indirectly impact many people I don't even know. So, I guess I'll keep going with all of this...even though it seems rather fruitless at times. I enjoy it, I just don't want to waste space on the web!

Alright...so I rose at 5:20 this morning which I was planning to do but was spurred on by my daughter waking up. I gave her a drink and put her back to bed. I then proceeded to take up my work out which I hadn't done at all last week being sick. I decided to watch "Insomniac Music Theater" on VH1 as I was working out. And I have a question...is it necessary for a woman in the music industry today to take all of her clothes off in order to experience success. It just seems that so many of these young ladies...and some even have real talent such as Chrstina Aguilera (sp?--I love her voice) have this burning desire to dance like strippers in their music videos. I have nothing against strippers...they have their place in society. But, it just seems that it's not about the music or the talent so much as it is about the body and the sex appeal any more. The only woman I can think of who doesn't do this to a degree is Norah Jones. But I think her following is bigger in the "Adult Contemporary" category...as opposed to the teeny bopper through the twenties category. I'm not a feminist...but have woman come to devalue themselves this much? They're willing to throw off most of their clothes just to get a record deal? I hope my daughter doesn't want into the music business. She seems to maybe have some talent there...she picks up on songs quickly. You only have to sing them once before she can sing them back. But if Ana wants to break in to that business...she's gonna have one helluva stage mom...at least until she's old enough to kick me out of her business!

Which reminds me of a conversation I had with my husband last night. I asked him if he had actually listened to the "Cool Change" song from yesterday's entry.

"I listened to a third of it," he said. "I just can't take that hippie music."

"It's not hippie music. No more than that Three Dog Night song you put up on " target="NewWindow">your blog
" I replied. I then began doing renditions of "Lady" and "Reminiscing."

"Ahh...he said. It's chick music."

"It's not chick music," I indignantly replied. "It's good stuff. Little River Band should be required listening. I'm going to buy the whole 'greatest hits' album."

"The only reason he sang those songs was to get chicks in bed. That's what anyone in the music business is there for."

"I don't believe that," I said. "There has to be one or two of them who are there because they love the music and want to share it."

"Gene Simmons said that if anyone tells you they're in the business for any reason other than chicks they're lying."

"What about the ones who are gay?" I answered. And yes, I am a total goof ball if you didn't know that already. I'm also the eternal optimist. I really don't think they're all in it just for the sex. Maybe some of them. And maybe it's an added bonus, but I also believe there are a few successful musicians out there who do there jobs for the love of the music. I suffer from Anne Frank disease...I think most people are good. I learned this working in the inner city which is supposed to be a scary place. And it can be...but I met more hearts of gold there...more people willing to help than in most of the upper middle class suburban houses I served. Humanity never ceases to amaze me.

Anyway, this conversation was an extension of one we'd had earlier about Kid Rock. I think Kid Rock is adorable and I'd love to meet him some day. He strikes me as being an incredibly smart human being if somewhat depraved. I'd love the chance to pick his brain...but hubby says "No Way" would he ever want me to meet him.

"Why?"

"Because he'll want to have sex with you," was his answer.

"No...look....the man is engaged to Pamela Anderson...sometimes. You have me...then you have Pamela. Even I could tell you that's an easy choice."

"It's not always what's on the outside. You have something those groupies don't have," he replied.

Me...eyes rolling..."Whatever..."

"No honey...you have grace and you carry yourself with respect. That could be very attractive to someone like him who's used to...well...what he's used to," hubby answered.

"That's very sweet, but why would I have sex with him. You know I wouldn't..."

"I'd be afraid he'd take it from you. Those guys have power and they're used to getting what they want."

I guess I can see that point. Especially with the whole Kobe Bryant thing. I believe the girl. What could she possibly gain from this...except more heartache. Really. But I still don't think ALL people of power would do such things. At least I like to hope not.

I think I had some other things to talk about...but this entry has grown long. So I'll stop here. But I'll leave you with this quote from the Kallistos book about Orthodoxy.


I know that the Immovable comes down;
I know that the Invisible appears to me;
I know that he who is far outside the whole creation
Takes me within himself and hides me in is arms,
And then I find myself outside the whole world.
I, a frail, small mortal in the world,
Behold the Creator of the world, all of him, within myself;
And I know that I shall not die, for I am within the Life,
I have the whole of Life springing up as a fountain within me.
He is in my heart, he is in heaven:
Both there and here he shows himself to me with equal glory.

St Symeon the New Theologian

Have a wonderful Day!!

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Snapshots 

Ana's first journal entry, David's walking issues and sex...OH MY!

First of all, I'd like to apologize for the total and complete dreariness of yesterday's entry. And somewhere out there my old therapist is standing around with big stick ready to beat me with it...but damnit...it just feels better to apologize. I also thought it wasn't very well written. It all sounded much better as I ran over it my head in the car as I was driving the kids to and from the airplane park...

Speaking of the kids...

Last night, Ana sat in her Daddy's lap for a few moments watching the computer make bubble designs in time to the music it was playing. We often wonder if our kids will get hooked on acid tripping drugs after having them watch all these bizzare designs the computer comes up with. At any rate, she and her dad watched together for the better part of 10 minutes. Jim said she then rose abruptly and came upstairs. I pulled her up over the baby gate at the top of the stairs at that point and she walked straight into the room and asked for crayons. The easel is always set up with paper in the corner ready to go. She started drawing little blue circles with a very determined look on her face. She then turned to me and said, "Look Mom, bubbles." Think that's her first journal entry? Hmmm.....

David still refuses to walk unaided. I mean, he'll take two or three steps between objects to hold on to but that's about it. Jim became very frustrated with him last night and attempted to trick him to walking unaided. Which worked once. That kid is incredibly smart! But he also does not like change very much, I guess. It's the only reason I can come up with for him not progressing in those physical skills. In the back of my mind I wonder about mild CP or what they referred to as minor neuro-motor dysfuction (a catchall term for "we really don't know, but we'll tell you it's this for insurance purposes"). However, David doesn't have that kind of look about him. And his speech wouldn't be developing as well as it is either...he'd be having issues there as well if it were some sort of neurological thing. I suppose it could be a physical thing...more mechanics than neurons. Sometimes it seems one of his feet kind of sticks out funny when he tries to walk. I showed it to the pediatrician and he seemed non-plussed. I guess it's a wait and see thing. He does seem to be learning a new word every day and is beginning to enjoy books. Not having me read them to him...but chewing on them. It's a start.

Ana likes to "read" now. She looks at the pictures and describes what's happening in Ana speak. She ends each story with a resounding "The End!"

Jim and I had sex last night for the first time in almost two weeks. Now I'm not going to go into the gory details of that because I'm just not that kind of girl...but I will say this. The lack of physical intimacy very likely had something to do with my morose mood. I think sex is very important in a marriage as it is for me at least, a very spiritual experience. I see it as the physical representation of our spiritual oneness. I missed Jim in "that way" even in my tired, exhausted and sick self. I think that the physical sensation of sex is incredible, but the spiritual aspect is its most important piece. And I think all those "sex addicts" out there are really looking for that spiritual connection...not the physical feedback. Just my opinion. The trouble is...you can't make that spiritual connection in a one night stand...not possible. You need the give and take of life...the mortgage payments, credit card bills, sick kids, trying in-laws, strained work issues...you need to fight together in daily life so you can feed each other spiritually as no one else can. And I missed that the last few weeks. I wrote a poem after sex once...about sex...I think I'll keep that between hubby and I though...

And now...more of The Little River Band:


If there's one thing in my life that's missing
It's the time that I spend alone...


That's from the song, "Cool change" that I mentioned yesterday. And of course, that's part of my problem. Since I've been feeling so miserable, I haven't been getting up early in order to have my alone time. My body has needed the rest but my spirit is now somewhat starved. I'm beginning to be on the mend so I'm hoping that my fill me up time will be able to be resumed soon. I haven't worked out in a week, or had any real "quiet time" with God. The journal time has happened whenever I could fit it in around life and all of us feeling sick. Right now, the kids are upstairs playing and I'm rushing through this in order to finish it before they start to injure each other...so that I can get it out of my system before Jim wakes up and begins his time at the computer. So I think, at it's heart, my melancholiness is just lack of me time intensified by being sick myself and having two sick children and a multitude of total craziness going on around me.


I know that it's time
for a cool change


Yup, it's definitely time. And I'm going to leave you with one of the quotes from The Orthodox Way by Kallistos:


In the words of John Scotus Eriugena, "Every visible or invisible creature is a theophany or appearance of God." The Christian is the one who wherever he looks, sees God everywhere and rejoices in him. Not without reason did the early Christians attribute to Christ this saying: "Lift the stone and you will find me; cut the wood in two and there am I."


Look in the mirror...there He is. Chew on that for a while.

Have a great day!

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