Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lenten Promises

This year Lent has a special meaning for me. It is my hope to experience renewal and resurrection from where I have been. Jackie Schmitz CSJ echoes my thoughts:

I long for Lent to be a season of growth, a time when one can sit quietly and reflectively, patiently waiting for silent change to take place. I long for Lent to be a journey to a place of stillness, trusting in that process, growth will take place, transformation will occur and God will tend the soil of my soul and nurture new life. With courage and grace, I will then enter into that great mystery of renewal, death and resurrection.
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My main goal is to pay attention, be open and welcome the spirit of God within me and others.
I have chosen to give up sugar this Lenten season- no easy feat. If you know me, you know I have an extreme sweet tooth. I have been successful the first 2 of the 40 days--yahoo. I am practicing remembrance of my goals every time I swoop past the kitchen -eyeing the triple ginger cookies from Trader Joes. I have decided that cereal, granola bars and the like are just hidden forms of sugar. The hardest thing for me so far is to pass up sugar in my tea.
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I used to be really focused on doing something for Lent instead of giving something up, but I think the combo of a little sacrifice and the reminder to be open and pay attention is a life giving thing.

Travel Gear


I thought I would share and idea I came up with in order to travel light. Above is a contact lens carrier. In it I put cleanser (L) and moisturizer (R) for my face. It is handy and easy to bring along and great for at least 2 overnight stays. Just a thought.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spirit Music

My Friend Susan
Well, we were invited to a beautiful church service at Holy Rosary and St. John on Ohio Avenue by my friend and colleague, Susan . Mass was at 10:00 am. The church was filled with the most melodic music I have heard in a long while. The liturgical music was designed for singing which may seem strange to say but as some services the music is hard to follow. The kids were grooving right along with the congregation.

The congregation was eclectic and welcoming. Susan introduced us around and invited us to the Black History celebration meal directly after the Mass. It was clear that all were welcome there. The church has a strong ministry to the homeless- they have a food pantry and a soup kitchen that is staffed daily. Good stuff!

The scripture message was about the man who was lowered into a room to get Jesus' attention in order to be healed. The priest smiled and said, "Wouldn't it be nice to have friends like that?" I reflected upon this and realized I do have friends like that. Susan is one of them. She called me to check up on me because she had not heard word from me for awhile and wondered if she would need to break down the door to come and get me out. Now, Susan is maybe 4ft tall if that, but I don't doubt that she would rescue me if I needed it :-). That is friendship! Turns out while my family and I were gallivanting in D.C., my cell phone was ringing off the hook. Unfortunately, my cell phone was tucked in a box at my old place of employment, so I was not reachable. I have a new cell phone now, so at least that dilemma has been remedied-- and I was able to check my old messages (bonus!).

Other friends continue to send me job leads, call me for outings and pray for the "very best job ever" to come my way. I am so fortunate. Not sure what I would do without these true friends.


The priest also asked whether each of us are one of these friends to others and I silently pray that I am.

Anyway, back to church, it is customary at this church that when someone has a birthday they go up to the front and get to hear the whole church sing a very jazzy birthday song. Kye raised his hand when they asked and was the only one up front. He smiled widely the whole time. They gave him an envelope with $2 in it to celebrate. He was tickled.

Then the woman up front doing announcements indicated that it was her birthday weekend when she joined the church. All in all, it was a very pleasant experience.


Here is just a taste of the fine music shared at the Mass- sing along! "Lord heal my soul, for I have sinned against you....."

video

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kye in Charge


So, back to my comment about what our kids may say about us when they are in therapy. This thought initially came up for me when I was having a discussion with Kye about his birthday party. You see, he wanted to have all the fun first and THEN eat. The only problem with that was our shindig was going to start at noon- the time, traditionally indicated for lunch.

I suggested that we have the fashion show first (as Kye indicated) and then eat, so hungry guests could get their grub on. He did not like that idea and said clearly, "Mom you said I could be in charge and you are not letting me!" I shared that he actually was in charge of many things and reminded him of his input and my responsiveness to his thoughts, but he was stuck on this one point; his heart was set on having this thing, his way.

As a parent, I had an internal dialog going on, as I often do, when facing conflicting values. Do I go with Kye's flow and potentially starve our guests? Do I override his suggestion, leaving him desperately disappointed? I thought about banking on the fact that he probably won't remember this conversation when his friends arrive anyway (you know a sneaky maneuver).

What I ended up doing was appeal to Kye's rational self and asked him to trust me. I reassured him that everything was going to be alright and that we would have fun, and I would try my best to incorporate his ideas. He was happy to agree and seemed to "know" that I would honor him.

Once I figured out that it was anxiety driving his insistence, I was able to provide him support in a way that calmed him down. And luckily, there was enough trust in the system that he could hand it over to me.

This little scenario was good for me. It helped me to see some things about myself and my relationship with Kye. I could have been offended that he did not trust me initially. I could have forced the issue, gotten overwhelmed, felt guilty or complicated things for myself; fortunately I did not do any of these things.

The thing I come to realize is that parenting is hard. How do we know how to react in just the right way at the right time? When is it time to make a big deal of something, or let something pass? And, to make it worse, or better, each child may require a different approach and response.

I suppose we do our best, keep an open mind, listen and respond with love.

I'm a Snapdragon!

Found this little tidbit at a blog I follow called: This Garden is Illegal a Cleveland blogger who loves to garden.



I am a
Snapdragon


What Flower
Are You?




She says that, "Mischief is my middle name, but my first is friend. I am quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

Kye Turns 6!


Yesterday we celebrated Kye's 6th birthday. It seems like it was just a short while ago that he was 6 months old traveling in Ireland with me. Alas, how time eludes you......
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The party was a fun affair. Kye thought of every detail including the stipulation that it be a costume party. We had a scavenger hunt, tissue throwing game and a Wii station. Kye blew out his candle on the pizza because, "Mom, I don't like cake". (What is it with my kids?). The other party goers were willing to oblige. The pizza itself was a sight to see. It is the biggest pizza ever! (The picture does not do it justice). I had to turn it on it's side to get it in the car. It is called the Giant and has 49 slices. It comes from a place called Porto Fino's. They have great sandwiches there too- but I digress.
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Kye was clear that he wanted to have a fashion show once everyone arrived. He felt it was important to have each person on "stage" so they could introduce themselves and what their costume represented. We some traditional costumes and some very creative ones.
As we waited the first half hour was filled with hustle and bustle. Kids running throughout the house and around the inner circle of the house The chase was fierce. It seems like the fire man and police man felt the need to capture Spider Man-- the others followed suit. It was pointed out that Spiderman gets along with the police and even if he was in trouble he wouldn't get caught-- 'cause he got skills. There was a very rational debate about this.
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It was fun to be around family and friends and Kye exclaimed emphatically that he had a great time.
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You ever wonder what your kids will remember when they are older; or, what they will be talking to their therapist about? Ah.....all we can do is our best.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Respite

Our DC trip was engaging, eclectic and fun! A few pictures below of the highlights-my camera battery died during the trip--ugh.

Here is Alex- we got to watch him play basketball in his tournament games (3 games total). I did not realize how vocal I can be when I actually know someone on the team. Go Alex!
Friendship at its finest. Sweetest moment: Kye taking a picture of Caden and Caden exclaiming: "You are my best friend Kye-Kye!".

Me and the big guy. He can be found at the Hirshorn. His face and body are so realistic- I must admit, I experienced empathy for him. I decided to hop in the picture so you could get an idea about size. Alea is the photographer here.


Motley Crew out sight seeing.


Brushtrokes-- look familiar?

Love the Metro!

Homemade potato and leek soup from yours truly-- so simple, so delicious.



Green Ridge Mountain Overlook. Cold but pretty.
I plan to visit again soon when I have money. This was the cheapest vacation ever. Becky housed and fed us (thank you!); we paid for 3 tanks of gas, 4 metro tickets and one meal out. All the attractions were free. Total out: $116--not bad.
What was the best though, is that my dear friend Becky along with the kids and I had some good quality time together. It was a wonderful way to spend Valentine's weekend. Conversations with tea, sharing house tasks, playing outside, walking to the Metro, collecting worms, meeting friends, hootin and hollerin, packing lunches, playing tag, working our muscles on the chin up bar, swimming in the bathtub ........memories in the making.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Erin Needs

A new game is going around Facebook and I thought I would share it with you is called "Your first name" Needs game.

Instructions: Google your "first name" and "needs" and post the first six that come up.
Here are my results:

1. Hope. Who doesn't need hope?
2. Another miracle. This implies that I have had miracles and I have! Another would be welcome-- bring it on!
3. To have that chance. This would be very appropriate for my job search right now.
4. New Music. How true, I need to infuse my world with new sounds and opportunities.
5. Motivation. This one is interesting, I have been exploring my interests and I am floating a bit. What am I motivated for, interested in, wanting to invest in....? I feel things bubbling up.
6. To have a punch biopsy-- definitely don't want that, not even sure what it is; don't want to know.
Thanks Louie for the idea!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ode to Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone out there-- friends, family, loves of the past, lovers of the future-- today is a day to celebrate the act of loving one another-- a reminder to honor those in your midst.

As I was pondering relationships and Valentine's Days of the past I realized how truly blessed I have been. I can honestly say that I am grateful for each person who has tarried with me on my journey. I believe through relationship, we grow and develop and have the ability to reach for our true potential. It is not that every relationship is right or the "one" but each relationship has had some purpose on my path.

In my recent travels in the car I had the chance to listen to a lot of Bruce Springsteen and I would like to share two songs with you.

The first is for anyone who has lost a love. It is a hauntingly beautiful song.




The second is a song that is simply special-- a true expression of commitment and intimacy. Can't beat that.

TWO FOR THE ROAD
Bruce Springsteen

It's one for the money and one for the show
I got one kiss for you honey so come on let's go
I didn't see it coming but girl now I know
It takes one for the running but two for the road

One thousand dreams whispered in the dark
But a dream's just a dream in one empty heart
It takes more than one to rev it up and go
So let's get it running, we're two for the road

Two one-way tickets and a diamond ring
Hell it don't matter what the rain might bring
Whoa, when this world treats you hard and cold
I'll stand beside you, we're two for the road

When you're alone my love'll shine the light
Through the dark and starless night
I'll hold you close and never let you go
C'mon now girl 'cause we're two for the road
Well it's two to get ready, babe, c'mon let's go
Me and you, girl, we're two for the road

Hmmm...


I could not find a video for this, it seems like this is a little known song. I have the recording from a concert and have not figured out how to load MP3s.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kye has Limits

The other day, Kye was on the phone with a friend named Max. In the middle of the conversation he hung up and ran to me saying, "I have to call Max very soon!" I said, "But, weren't you just on the phone with him?" "Yeah but I needed a break-- I get tired!" Two minutes later, "Mom, I need to call Max now."

Today as we were eating ice cream, relishing in the wonderfulness of it, Kye leans over to me and says, "I have tongue freeze!" He set his ice cream down and gave it a break.

There is something to be said for knowing when to take breaks, how to pay attention to our needs and consequently communicate them. I think this kid is onto something.

Random Thoughts

  • I wonder how I, alone, can create a sink full of dishes? How many cups must a girl use in one day? From this day forward, I pledge to reuse the dish I start out with. What a concept.
  • I am hoping to build a chicken coop, housing 4 hens in the backyard. Soon I will be posting a wish list if anyone has materials that they are willing to donate to the project. Having fresh eggs, unprocessed and free from antibiotics is a cool concept. I am equally excited about my children learning where their food comes from.
  • Alea is selling girl scout cookies, if you must have some, let me know and she will hook you up.
  • I am trying to learn guitar, if anyone out there has something to teach me, I am open to it. I have appropriately formed calluses and I am willing to use them.
  • The wind has been ferocious tonight; lights have flickered and the rain is tapping on the window. I am simultaneously experiencing feelings of awe and fear. Rarely am I spooked, but tonight, adrenaline is present. My mom would make us hide out in the basement when a storm would come. I usually am the person getting a blanket and watching the storm, while others are hiding away. For some weird reason- not tonight.
  • We have a guest living in our house-- a mouse. Saw him today. That will need to be dealt with. Also went into the garage loft and found a cat visiting there. What is up with my animal energy?
  • Kye asked today if we are sideways. When I inquired further, he said, "You know Mom, on the Earth. You know the Earth is spinning, are we sometimes sideways?" I let him know that yes sometimes we are sideways, and sometimes, we are almost upside down. I then went into an explanation of gravity. The conversation seemed to fizzle from there. But, I am encouraged that this kid really thinks about things. I can only imagine what other thoughts he is having in there. Wouldn't it be neat to climb into some one's brain and really see what is going on? I think Kye's brain would be a fun one. I am beginning to wonder if my brain would be a boring one. Hmmm.......

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Play-doh a.k.a. My Back


Last Wednesday, I was at a massage appointment with a masseuse who had the strongest hands I have ever met. You may be asking yourself, how can a temporarily unemployed woman afford such fancies? Well, when I was employed, I joined Massage Envy to get cheaper massages- one per month. This was a commitment to myself after my doctor suggested that I have tendinitis in my back that could be resolved through a weekly massage. That was not doable financially so I compromised by purchasing one massage a month. But the kicker was that I banked up 4 massages that I did not use before I heard I was going to be laid off. Given that, I have been enjoying the opportunity while I have been off (luckiest- unlucky person I know).


Anyway, this woman, Jessica is petite and athletic-- she is shorter than me and surprisingly strong. As I was laying on the table concentrating on relaxing, she dug deep into my flesh, moved my muscles --stretching, pushing on trigger points. I consciously reminded myself to breathe and envisioned the muscles releasing.


I was curious about her style so I asked a few questions: "When you get a massage do you like deep tissue work? She said yes and that if a person is too gentle it does not feel like anything is happening. I agreed. There have been times when I have gotten the most gentle massage but my back did not feel any better. I then asked, "You have the strongest touch I have experienced in professional or personal massage. Do you ever have someone that resists your touch or has expressed fear about you moving them?" She said that she had and indicated that as long as the person seeks to maintain control, they will never feel release.


I laid there thinking about that. How many times do we work to control situations instead of relaxing into them, seeing where they lead or letting others lead?

Letting go of control would require us to have faith. We would need to let go of our worries and let her do the work. We may have to experience some pain to get to a healthier place-- all the while visualizing the healing that is possible.


Control is often a product of fear. We try to make our worlds make sense, keep things safe, hold onto our worry because it is more comfortable than really trying something new or different or trusting someone else. Although, at times control can make things more unsafe; may increase the possibility of injury. Control in a mental sense can often keep the pot stirred triggering others, compelling them to vie for control-- creating a lose/lose situation.
I can see this as a metaphor within the relationship with God. Do we allow him to heal us? Do we acknowledge and allow him to do his work within us or do we resist or fear too much to reap the benefits of that relationship? Do we hold onto our worries, let our fear rule us, so much that we cannot focus, cannot choose health, ultimately experiencing release?


More and more I am realizing life is about how we do things. Happiness, healing, connection with our Source, etc is in the little things. I have come a long way, but I have so much further to go. Can I have faith and trust? Still more to ponder.


I will get that chance tomorrow as I lay on the massage table with my last massage (use it or lose it!) I choose to use it!




Friday, February 6, 2009

Messy Art Day

As I was picking up Kye from school today he shared:
Kye: "Today was a messy art day."
Mom: "Have fun?"
Kye: "Not so much."
Mom: "Not an art guy?"
Kye: "No, I am way interested in scuba diving."
Mom: "What do you find interesting about scuba diving?"
Kye: "Swimming and figuring out stuff."
Mom: "What kind of stuff would you figure out?"
Kye: "You know, like how fish sleep with their eyes open. Stuff like that."
Mom: "That is interesting stuff."

Later in the bathtub:
Mom: "You want to meet someone who scuba dives?"
Kye: "I'm still a kid Mom."
Mom: "Yeah but you could still explore the idea."
Kye: "Do you know anyone who scuba dives?"
Mom: "Not that I know of, but I could ask."
Kye: "I am learning about penquins now."
Mom: "Interesting."
Kye: "I want to go to Antartic."
Mom: "What would you do there?"
Kye: "See how penquins slide on thier bellies."

Kye: "I think I would like to be a scientist after I become a scuba diver."
Mom: "There are scientists that are scuba divers."
Kye: "What do they do?"
Mom: "Study the ocean and all the living things there."
Kye: "Hmm..."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Phil in the Circle

Check out this neat artist that puts as much energy into how he makes his masterpieces as creating the actual pieces. Phil in the Circle

Thank you to Tiffany who introduced me to her brother's blog, who then in turn introduced me to Phil.

Tell me what you think.....

Farewell Friends and Co-Workers!




You can click to enlarge.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Literals Strike Again!

At Aunt Ginger's house we had the most wonderful meal, engaging conversation and the ability to run from the kitchen to the dining room, the living room, the foyer and the family room- completing a loop. What else could one ask for in an evening? Good time was had by all. While getting ready to leave, I asked Kye to get on his shoes.

He said, "They are not shoes mom, they're boots!"
I said, "Don't be such a smart alack!"

He said, "My name is not Alec mom!"

I promptly rolled my eyes and gave him the look. He got his shoes, I mean boots on.

While saying our goodbyes the kids made snow angels, skated on the ice in the drive way and giggled so loud that I thought we would wake the neighbors. They slept good that night. Thank you Aunt Ginger for a wonderful evening.